It is becoming increasingly clear that Irish artists are doing their best to make sure that they have something to make them stand out from the crowd. Bands in this country are routinely pushing the boundaries of their sound to make sure that they have something that will draw listeners in and keep them engaged, an example of one of these bands is Carlow outfit, Exiles.
The first thing that struck me about the music of Exiles, comprising of Jack O’Flaherty and Darragh O’Connor, was the sophistication of their sound. It was immediately clear that this was a band who were aware and comfortable with what they were trying to do, and it was empowering to here a young band aiming for extravagant and ambitious instrumentation. This adventurous instrumentation is also used to powerful effect to weave stories and create scenarios across all the different tracks that they write. This sense of adventure and invention is showcased expertly on the most recent release by the Carlow band, Rearview Mirror.
I love this song. Sonically intriguing and vocally impressive, with O’Flaherty playing an impressive and convinced protagonist. The song expertly captures the feeling of limbo where you want to try and clear up things with a previous romantic partner before things get too weird between you and them. The driving drum and bass, and the synth chorus expertly as a means of portraying the complications of this situation and the fact that everyone will need to find a solution for a situation lest it continue to drag out. The metaphor of the rearview mirror of a car through the song is a powerful image, and instantly puts the idea of constantly seeing/thinking of someone who should have been left behind into the head of the listener.
Exiles are a band that as you listen to them you are left intrigued about how this expansive and ambitious sound would transfer to the live setting. Thankfully, I got a chance to experience it for myself a few weeks ago (22 February 2019) at the launch of the single, Rearview Mirror in Whelan’s. This was a compelling and triumphant display by the band. The instrumentation by all on stage was confident and assured as O’Flaherty cut a compelling front man prowling the stage, sometimes with and sometimes without a guitar, and delivering an excellent vocal performance throughout. The sonically captivating soundscapes that the band manage to create in their recorded material was also showcased expertly with a sound that filled the venue and carried the crowd along for a properly enjoyable hour of music.
Credit must also go to the support act on the night, Dublin singer/songwriter Fí, who along with her band served as the perfect opening act for the gig. Worth paying attention to in the future.
Rearview Mirror is a track that announces Exiles as a band that will continue to demand attention in the coming months and years, and there is plenty to suggest that it is only the beginning for the band who are starting to fully understand who they are as musicians. Keep an eye on future releases as they are sure to worthy of your time.