The date? 25 August 2012.
The place? The Dublin Quays.
The event? Dublin Tall Ships Festival 2012.
I am nearing the conclusion of a lovely day trip to Dublin with a person of significance in my life, and we are just after watching This Club perform on the live music stage at the Dublin Tall Ships Festival 2012. And for now we are standing waiting in the light drizzle for the next band to take the stage. The band? Delorentos.
The alternative rock four-piece from Dublin were a band that both of us had been aware of previous to this viewing. She had had the pleasure of seeing them at the previous year’s Indiependence Music & Arts Festival and we both liked what we had heard by the band on the radio through the years. At approximately 5:30pm, Ró Yourell, Kieran McGuinness, Ross McCormack, and Níal Conlon emerge from backstage and take up their positions on the stage as a crowd of cold and wet onlookers wait to be entertained. We were not disappointed…
From that moment on Delorentos became my favourite band. Their genuine on stage charisma, ever developing sound, and meticulous style of songwriting, make them one of the most compelling music acts in Ireland at the moment. While this article could go into the reasons why the band have left such a profound effect on this writer, it will instead provide an analysis of some of the best, and most memorable, songs off the third album from the band, Little Sparks.
The album Little Sparks was released in early 2012, and was immediately recognised to be the best of the three albums that the band had released up to that point. Delorentos rolled out the album with a series of videos of the band performing acoustic versions of different songs from the album, and by travelling around the country playing pop-up shows in record shops. The album would eventually go on to win the Choice Music Prize for Album of the Year 2012, beating of stiff competition from the likes of Heathers, Two Door Cinema Club, and The Cast of Cheers, to name but a few, and was a vindication for the efforts that the band had put in during the writing and recording of the record.
The album begins with the incredibly catchy, Did We Ever Really Try?, a song that would also become the soundtrack for a subsequent breakup that this writer would go through. The vocals by Rónan Yourell expertly express the emotion that is often felt in the wake of a failed relationship, as the song slowly builds from piano and drums intro to driving guitar from the chorus onwards. The instrumentation continues to rise and fall throughout which expertly replicates the complications of still having feelings for someone who is gone. It is easily one of the stand out tracks on this album, and also a crowd favourite when performed live.
The next song that this writer would like to draw attention on is the titular track, Little Sparks. Yet another crowd favourite during the live shows, it is a song that again starts from a quiet base and slowly builds. This technique works perfectly to demonstrate the sentiments of a song that talks about the stage in a long term relationship where two people have settled into a routine and the initial period of infatuation and excitement has worn off – and yet despite this, there are still times when the sensations felt during infatuation return:
There are little sparks, sometimes.
But, there is little doubt as to what song this album will be remembered for. Kieran McGuinness has given many interviews since the release of this album talking about how one of the primary aims that he had when sitting down to write songs for this LP was to write a song that spoke to the topic of his adoption. He hoped to create something that would help him to better understand the mindset that would cause a woman to put a child up for adoption in 1980s Ireland when such a thing would have caused heavy controversy. The result of those efforts is the flawless, Petardu. A song that has featured on the Christmas television advertisements for Allied Irish Bank in recent years, it is a wonderfully minimalistic composition that chooses to use simple instrumentation, which acts as a juxtaposition to the serious nature of it’s subject matter. The stand out track on this album, and indeed the whole discography of Delorentos, Petardu can take it’s place as one of the best Irish songs of the last twenty years, if not of all time. And the accompanying music video is also a delight that wonderfully compliments the music.
Little Sparks marked a significant triumph for Delorentos, as it became apparent that this was a band who were starting to properly settle into their sound and develop a confidence as to what Delorentos wanted to be, a confidence that has only continued to develop subsequent to the release of this LP. The creation of this album is all the more notable given that in 2009 the band had decided that they could not see a future for Delorentos and decided to stop making music, only for long time friend of the band, and producer, Rob Kirwan, to convince them to keep going. Anyone who has followed the band since will be very thankful that they did.