In all fairness Ireland’s County Cavan wouldn’t be the first place that springs to mind when determining where some of our country’s most talented young musicians hail from. So the fact that currently both The Whereabouts and The Strypes are making waves at home, over the Irish Sea and even further afield, is more than just a minor miracle.
The comparisons between both groups is clearly evident for all to see. Be it their similar sense of style, their obvious debt to 60’s & 70’s rock and pop groups – The Stones, The Kinks and Dr. Feelgood – as well as the original rhythm and blues of the 50’s – Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley – and finally, the fact that nearly all the members of both groups are still only teenagers!
The Whereabouts are made up of; Wayne ‘Watters’ Reilly: lead vox/gtr, Joseph Adcock: bass gtr/vocals, Evan Murphy: lead gtr and Dara Curtis: drums. They first got together in the early months of 2013 and by the time the clock had welcomed in the new year, the four piece had already released their debut E.P. TwentyThirtyThree.
If you thought that was fast work, they have kept up that momentum with the release of a brand new seven track E.P. entitled, I Don’t Care.
The EP’s title track kicks things off, with its heavily blues infused dual guitar riffs steaming out of the blocks. Reilly’s rasp-like vocals are evident from the get go and though the initial half of the song feels as though it’s going through the motions, by the time it reaches its midway point the pace jumps up a gear or two, particularly following Reilly’s howl.
‘Money & Fame’ has got more of a bubblegum pop/garage rock vibe to it compared to the opening number, including a catchy guitar solo courtesy of Murphy, while Reilly and Adcock’s harmonising capabilities work well, even if there is more than a subtle hint of an American drawl thrown in. That latter comparison led me to think that it sounds exactly like an off-cut from Foxboro Hot Tubs’ 2008 debut album, Stop Drop & Roll!!!.
‘Let Go of the Brakes’ is a song about being wary of the female of the species, as it includes the line; “Not me I’m not going there/Down that road again/First you got to tell yourself/Let go of the brakes/See what road she takes”. Unfortunately it’s a track that seems to meander along in a rather lackluster fashion, as opposed to kicking on with the ovbious vigour these four teenagers are capable of.
Luckily the EP storms right back into life with the rather rambunctious ‘We’re On the Run’, which is played at an incendiary pace, all thrashing drums, with harmonica solos and hook laden riffs included for good measure.
The final original song on this release is ‘Emmalene’, in which The Whereabouts highlight their obvious love affair of all things 60’s. Infectious power chords? Check! Harmonies galore? Check! A song about that adventurous teenage girl? Check!
Lastly I’m presuming the only reason the covers of ‘Roundrunner’ (Bo Diddley) and ‘Don’t Bring Me Down’ (The Pretty Things) have been included here is to highlight some of the band’s many influences. Heck even David Bowie included the latter on his ’73 covers album; Pin Ups. But for a young band trying to break out today, I feel as though the EP could’ve left these two additional songs off, no matter how well they go down in their live sets!
All in all however I Don’t Care shows alot of promise from these four brash and talented teenagers, so here’s looking forward to their debut full length record.