Armagh foursome Gascan Ruckus shrug off their 'live act' label to record a polished piece of catchy pop rock
In the two years since they formed, Gascan Ruckus have been patronized with disclaimers regarding their youth and the not overly challenging racket they make on stage. True, their not-too-mature brand of pulse-racing punk hasn't exactly got the music press buzzing, but melodic new single 'Pieces' could change all of that.
While it was always clear that Gascan Ruckus were an emerging act – experimenting with sound, unsure of where they would sonically end up – their energy and self-belief could never be questioned. Because sometimes three scruffy chords, a distortion pedal and a big-ass shout-along chorus is all you need.
Yet despite gaining a reputation in the north as live performers and releasing a brace of singles over the past year, the excitement of their sweat-pit gigs failed to translate into hardcore recordings. However thrilling they sounded blasted through a Marshall stack, many of their ideas seemed to overlap with previous recordings.
Some took that to mean that studio material was a secondary concern for the band – each song a riff-strewn outline to be filled in on the day with the help of a decent engineer on the way to the next gig. Current single 'Pieces' proves that assumption wrong.
At just under five minutes, this is, by far, the most substantial and impressive recording Gascan Ruckus have released thus far. It erupts without warning into a sloshing riff weightier than anything fans have come to expect of the band. It is as if Gascan Ruckus exiled themselves to a nice, quiet room, came up with a new sound and learned how to record it.
Their current sound lies somewhere between Queens of the Stone Age and Weezer, in a good way. Singer Michael Woods' voice – reminiscent of the nasal drawl of a younger Billy Joe Armstrong – works the melody perfectly. And a catchy melody it is too.
His lyrics are decent, if a little naive. 'I haven't got a clue what I'm supposed to do, I think you oughta let me know,' screams Woods. His chorus is one genetically modified to inflict pandemonium in any number of overstuffed dives or summer festival crowds.
Crucially though, this is not just a song to be appreciated in a live context. The crisp production and air-tight performance – including a restrained guitar lead which is, perhaps, unusual for such young performers– was made for headphones, car speakers and local radio station playlists.
Gascan Ruckus have managed to pen a bit a game changer here, while still retaining the level of simplicity that makes them so effective. 'Pieces' has all the hallmarks of signature song, a set closer no performance should finish without. The next Two Door Cinema Club? They've got a long way to go, but plenty of time to get there.