You know that painful search for new music everyone goes through? You’re tired of your current Playlist or constantly dropping back into an old album again and you need something fresh. This happens to me ALL.THE.TIME. I love an album for a month or two and then I don’t find anything new within it, and it just becomes another album on my MP3 or in Spotfiy. It’s like watching a movie for the second or third time. You know what’s coming so you don’t really find something new. Another thing with playing the same record over and over is that you’re familiar with it, you know what to expect. That song you love, the riff or the lyric. Problem is, that’s no good to anyone. You need to test your ears, give them something new!
That’s why it is a pleasure and honour for me to review music when an artist reaches out to me. You trust me to review your hard labour and expense? Shit, thanks! On top of that I don’t need to search for new music, it just came to me. So when Irish band Shag Haired Villains contacted me to review their album, ‘There Is A Noise’, of course I said yes!
Formed in 2012, Shag Haired Villains categorise their sound as “heavy blues” but also with a “grimy” sound, evident here on ‘There Is A Noise‘. They released their debut ‘Red Lake‘ in 2015 and have pushed on since then. They’ve begun to make a name for themselves on the Dublin scene and even appeared on the ‘Garageland Gigs’ compilation record supported by RTE. So it’s fair to say these guys are serious about making it!
In regards to their new record, ‘There Is A Noise‘, it was released last month both online and physically and they have been playing it in venues throughout Dublin since. It’s sound is blusey, and to be honest the production, although not perfect on the vocal side, is far better than I expected. I thought that perhaps it would be rough or hard to hear. Perhaps the sound would loop in and out. But no. It comes across very well and although it is still somewhat rough around the edges, it suits this genre. Within the opening minute of ’30 Miles’ you get to hear what Shag Haired Villains are all about. There’s raw ripping guitar followed by the more staple sound of bass and drums. It’s not a rushed or panicked intro and because it is catchy, you immediately want to hear more. The quality continues with ‘No Man’s Land’ coming in with its slow guitar, almost Nirvana-esque. I seriously dig the bass on this one and its teasing build up. They even hit us with a solo towards the end, a proper hard rock tune here. With ‘Go Big Or Go Home’ and ‘More Than I Take’ they keep the noise coming. As I’ve often mentioned in reviews noise is great when it’s structured. When Sonic Youth came out, maybe with the 2nd/3rd record, they came with noise. Over time that became refined and they developed a unique sound. So with the first four tracks here I can say the same about ‘There Is A Noise‘, it’s loud but well put together. They throw in a solo in ‘More Than I Can Take’ between pounding toms as if to highlight the confusion. Throughout the first few tracks they switch vocals between their drummer and guitarist and it works pretty well!
By the time I’ve hit the halfway mark it’s apparent that I’m going to have this on repeat. They hit the nail on the head with each intro, the first 30 seconds being some great hook. I can’t say this music hasn’t been made before, it has. But if you can do something better than someone else, does it matter how many times it’s been done before? Shag Haired Villains are Irish and perhaps that does affect my opinion, but they’ve so many hooks in the mix of blues and hard rock that this record really does stand out. In ‘Milestone’ we hear the blues influence clearly throughout. It’s breaks, rhythm and lyrics. That aching, echoing guitar eating away in the background covered in heavy bass, a total tease. You just want it to come out and that’s the magic in it, the anticipation. This is a real track, a real stand out so far. ‘The Mirror’ keeps the surprises coming, another epic solo surrounded by unending energy, pounding drums and deep, deep bass. As we near the end the guys let loose on the aptly named ‘Blaze’. They touch base with blues once again in ‘The Tower’ with lyrics reminiscent of a metal track. I like it though, it’s heavy. Another savage solo, something that has really impressed me. The record is wrapped up with the title track, a slow builder where Shag Haired Villains show us everything they’re about. Perhaps the best solo is saved for last as they reach new heights, proper going for it in a fantastic flurry to finish the record.
You know what, I love it when an Irish band like this comes along and gets themselves about. It goes to show we Irish don’t need to go oversees for music, it’s right here. It’s in small bars squashed on a stage, starting out in front of 5 people, busking in the street and playing at random occasions just to be heard. Everyone starts somewhere and everyone has a ladder to climb, whether it’s to gather a cult or international following. I highly recommend this one and it would be great to see an Irish band like this make it.
To keep track of the guys whereabouts check out shaghairedvillains.com