Cork’s The Altered Hours released their sophomore album Convertible in October 2021. The follow-up to 2016’s In Heat Not Sorry, Convertible is the album the band had been building towards for several years.
Convertible is a difficult record to define. But then again, so too are The Altered Hours. From early releases such as ‘Sweet Jelly Roll’ all the way to Convertisble’s third single ‘You Are Wrong’, the band have kept fans guessing as to who it is they’re meant to be. And therein lies the beauty.
Convertible wastes no time in throwing the listener in at the deep end. There’s no build-up with ‘You Are Wrong’, the opener whose sounds casade from the get-go. Elaine Howley and Cathal Mac Gabhann share vocals here, two contrasting forces that nonetheless gel. However, on ‘All Amnesia’, it’s Howley who leads the charge on a track reminiscent of a Raveonettes number, with a sweet guitar solo seeing the song over the horizon.
‘Thistle’ (tough choice, but perhaps my personal favourite), is the first track on the album that settles you. A classic rock song, we’re treated to some sick bass and guitar riffs here, with Howley once again the commander-in-chief.
The almost instrumental ‘Love You’ rips in as the fourth track, with only some sparse, uncertain vocals accompanying the slew of tested instruments. Another single, ‘Radiant Wound’, much like ‘You Are Wrong’, steps into your personal space without warning nor apology and perhaps captures the true essence of The Altered Hours. Dynamic, abrasive, and aggressive.
Next up we have ‘Street Sinner’, a track with a throbbing bass line that I think The Altered Hours could have done more with. At two and a half minutes, it’s a track poised for greatness, yet it only shimmers in its own potential.
‘Stratocaster Dreamcaster’, the second last track on Convertible, steps into jangle territory but does effectively, Howley’s vocals lending a dreamy aspect to the song. Closing track ‘7 Years’ follows suit, it’s slow pace a smooth climax.
At just under 30 minutes in length, The Altered Hours squeeze a lot into Convertible. An album whose makings can be traced to 2018’s EP On My Tongue, it serves the band well in maintaining their unpredictablity. Where the next album takes us, who knows.
Cork: Live at Coughlans – May 27th
Body & Soul Festival – June 17th-19th
Galway: Live at Roisin Dubh – July 9th
Listowel: Live at Mike The Pies – July 16th
All Together Now Festival – July 29th-31st
Another Love Story Festival – August 19th-21st
You can get your tickets here.
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Photo credit: thealteredhours.bandcamp.com