Overwrought anthems, a love song that's not for 'Barbara' and a 'more-metal-than-thou' EP
Runaway GO - 'Delicate Man'
This Belfast-based five piece have been around in a number of different incarnations over the last few years, but under the moniker Runaway GO, they really seem to be setting their sights on the top.
Utilising a classic boy-girl vocal, ‘Delicate Man’ is one of those classically overwrought anthems. Soaring guitars meld with the vocals of Fiona O’Kane and David Jackson, each covering different emotional aspects of the song, O’Kane’s voice intimate and hushed, Jackson’s powerful and dramatic.
It’s accomplished stuff, and it’s not hard to see a lot of people falling for their polished sound. The only real complaint would be that there’s not really anything particularly original here. No matter, as the results, if not spectacular, are certainly strong enough to attract a well deserved audience.
Best Boy Grip - 'Barbara'
Derry-based songwriter Eoin O’Callaghan clearly has a strong appreciation of the songwriting craft. Calling to mind the work of national treasure Neil Hannon, Best Boy Grip’s is intelligent, literate pop. It is not afraid to take the listener on a journey, without being overly didactic.
Over a bed of piano and delicate instrumentation, O’Callaghan sings caustic love songs. Melodically, ‘Barbara’ is faultless: a lilting, rollicking piano line suggests some arch deviant sitting in the parlour, wearing a smoking jacket and sipping a brandy.
But it’s the lyrics that really impress, delivered in O’Callaghan’s sweetly poisonous voice. 'This ain’t gonna be a love song Barbara / This ain’t gonna be the one for you / This is gonna be the one for Elaine,' sings O’Callaghan, and one cannot help but feel sorry for the (assumed) target of the song.
As an opening statement, ‘Barbara’ is a beautifully eloquent first shot, and announces Best Boy Grip as one of the most accomplished and promising songwriters to emerge from Northern Ireland for quite some time. It has very little to do with the world of contemporary pop music, and it’s all the better for it.
Gacy Threads - The Ignorance of Purity
For a few years, hardcore noise merchants Gacy’s Threads have been unleashing their punishing brand of metallic grind upon the receptive ears of the Irish metal community, sonically bludgeoning all who stand in their way.
Unlike many of their peers in the thriving Northern Irish metal scene, Gacy’s Threads have no small amount of crossover potential, popping up on the radars of hipsters and tastemakers alike. They are the indie fans metalcore band of choice.
As if throwing down the gauntlet, The Ignorance of Purity EP is easily the band's harshest, most hardcore release to date. Listening to it demands a feat of endurance almost designed to test the strength of the weak-willed. Ferocious blast beats pound the listener into submission, whilst the guttural screams and barks of Aaron Vance leave claw marks upon the soul.
Gacy’s Threads’ brand of metal could not be considered ‘melodic’, and as the discordant guitars tear through the riffs, their controlled fury threatens to overcome the sound. It can all become a bit too much for the causal listener. Which is no doubt exactly what they want.
‘Black Heart’ is absolutely terrifying, a white knuckle journey right into the depths of hell, whilst ‘To the Death’ succeeds in capturing an epic sensibility, without sacrificing any of their attack.
This kind of extreme metalcore is increasingly finding a bigger audience, and Gacy’s Threads have unleashed an EP that will separate the wheat from the chaff. In all likelihood, with a release this strong, Gacy's Thread could be gracing much bigger stages in the years to come.