(photo courtesy of Dom Marceleno Photography**)
The Journals, 'Part II'
Info: Dublin band The Journals describe their sound as an indie / shoe gaze hybrid, this is a good starting point when listening to their music for the first time, but what struck me after multiple listens was how the tracks sprawl out across even more genres, strong elements of folk and an undertone of hard rock get thrown into the mix with beautiful results. Usually a band will have some obvious reference points, ones you might identify straight away, and initially tracks can become hard to distinguish, but with The Journals I'm getting a more rewarding experience.
Last night I listened to the 5 tracks on the E.P. straight through, and then straight through again and struggled to pin down who they sound like. On their BreakingTunes page (see link below) they outline their influences as Bon Iver, Beach House, Elliott Smith, Pixies, Warpaint and Jeff Buckley, in addition I would be adding fellow Dubliners Future Kings of Spain, Danish alt-rockers Mew and at times Band of Horses. There is definitely a strong early 90's rock feel to many of the songs as well, complimented by the energetic drumming of Alex Cummins, guitarist John McDowell's powerful riffs and Niall Thornton's crisp bass lines keeping each track centred.
The Journals, 'Move Away'
The first track on the E.P., 'Part II', is instantly attention grabbing, the morose guitar and bass introduction provide the backing to at first sad vocals from front man, Ollie Moyles which elevate to an uplifting finale. Second track 'Creatures' is probably the closest nod to Jeff Buckley, reminiscent of 'Nightmares By The Sea' & 'Yard of Blonde Girls' from Sketches... while retaining an original feel. 'Evil Man' & 'Blankets' are where the folk attributes come in and approach a softer sound with some wonderful guitar-picking, and great vocal harmonies across both songs, there's a hint of Fleet Foxes in the latter track especially. Finally probably the catchiest tune of the lot is fourth track 'Moving Away', funky riffs and bass with a euphoric chorus this is a serious head bopper.
In conclusion, yet another very talented Irish act, both musically and lyrically, The Journals are well polished and have combined all of their influences and then some into this audio treat, and I'm not saying that because I personally find their sound particularly appealing, the quality is there to be heard. You can listen to the entire E.P. above in the SoundCloud segment, or even better, check them out at the venues below, starting with next Friday, 11th of April downstairs in Whelans on Wexford Street, you won't be disappointed.
Friday, 11th April, Whelans, Wexford Street, Dublin 2.
Sunday, 27th April, Sweeney's (upstairs), Dame Street, Dublin 2.
Friday, 13th June, The Grand Social (with Heroes in Hiding), Lwr. Liffey St., Dublin 1.
Follow on Twitter @The_Journals
Like on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/TheJournals
Listen on BandCamp http://thejournals.bandcamp.com/
** Photos courtesy of Dom Marceleno Photography. Check out the following link to see more great photos of Dublin’s music scene www.facebook.com/dommarceleno