Dark Room Notes
A new Irish band hits the touring circuit. It is time to take note.
Irish band Dark Room Notes seem to gather comparisons with the murkier side of electro pop, usually bands like New Order, Interpol or Joy Division. While the comparisons have some basis, DRN are far from gloomy, just a bit too cool for the small town scene they have to play. But this cool does not translate into pretension, just humorous and knowledgeable asides to their favourite artists, photographers and filmmakers.
Their name indicates a distinct interest in images, and indeed some band members have day jobs in the Dublin Gallery of Photography in Temple Bar. This was the location for one of their videos, a quality production that paid homage to Godard with their own tounge-in-cheek version of the dance routine from Bande á part.
French New Wave cinema is the only hint of the sixties in DRN's line. Otherwise, they seem to be enthralled by the 1980's. Pumping drumming from the oddly named Camera adds to the vocal harmonising of Ronan, Rurai and Arran, who variously play synths and guitars. Loud jangly guitars build to crescendos, yet maintain a rhythmic balance.
When the band play live, outlandish electronic sounds emanate from the stage. The most recent gig in Dublin was in Crawdaddy, where a packed-in crowd was thoroughly entertained with a barnstorming set, complete with dramatic visuals and little time to breathe between stomping electro-rock tunes. This was the launch of DRN's latest EP, Dead Start Program, one of a series of highly produced releases since their first excellent Love Like Nicotine single from April, a signature song that locks itself in your head and surfaces at the most unlikely times, memorable yet elusive.
The EP features four tracks, combining the girl/boy vocals and changing melodies that worked so well at Crawdaddy. Opener Slow Puncture is punky and tuneful, while closing and standout track Shake Shake My Ceiling is minimal and chaotic. Highly recommended.
Dead Start Program is currently being toured around Ireland. Upcoming gigs include 31 October in Kennedy's in Dublin, 2 November in Electric Avenue in Waterford, 3 November in Village, Dublin and 11 November Nimmos in Galway.