Auld Blue Eyes - The Early Years

24 Jun 2021 - Pat O'

Indie/Post-Rock/Post-Hardcore | Release date: 04 Jun 2021

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“Post-hardcore” vocals dripping in attitude and laced with “indie” hooks and melodies give Auld Blue Eyes something very distinctive and fresh.

One of the perks of writing about music, and reviewing albums is the buzz you get in unearthing one of the many brilliant bands that are scattered all over the globe. Not even the language barrier can stop you when it comes to finding relevant and interesting musicians. The language of music is universal. So how do I feel when I stumble on a talent that’s right on my doorstep?. I’m even more excited again!!!. A sense of pride creeps over me knowing that this talent I speak of is just around the corner!. 

Nestled not-so-quietly in the far southern reaches of Ireland is my home, the city of Cork. Cork always prides itself on having a thriving underground music scene. It’s styles are as varied and as colourful as the people who grace its streets and countryside. Cork people are known for their quick wit and being proud of where they come from. It’s a vibrant city that has lovingly blended the old with the new and in doing so has given Cork its attitude and character. All these qualities I speak of have seeped into the music of an artist who goes by the name of Auld Blue Eyes, and his latest EP, The Early Years

It’s an “indie”,”post-rock”, “post-hardcore” solo project by local man Ian O’ Callaghan. He has released a three track EP called The Early Years, and just like his city and it’s people, it’s full of attitude, energy and honesty. It echoes many musical influences, spanning the nineties right up to today. It’s a collage of hooks, screams, chants and ripping guitars, reinforced with melodies and feeling. It’s anthemic and pragmatic and is laced with lyrics that make you want to climb the walls and scream from the rooftops that you are here, and you are staying f*****g put!.

The first track of the EP, “The Old Country” kicks off with those early Placebo vibes, with its fuzzy guitar tones and immediately catchy hook. The vocals then lay siege with their screams of “Don’t you wish you dissented now, take it back, swallow down. Has your opinion changed? well tough shit, you’re living it. One more try, fifth times a charm, right?” It’s in your face and it’s just how it needs to be. The EP is a nostalgic recollection of moving back to the village you grew up in with the benefit of hindsight and this track in particular, revolves around the resistance in accepting help from others around you. Its upbeat tempo is fuelled by the chant like screams that certainly weigh heavily on the track. Drums pound as the lyrics continue to aggress, while the clean sharp solo of guest guitarist Ron O’Sullivan soars high above the streets and rolling hills of that place you call home. Even as the song breaks down to a calmer stringed section courtesy of Emmet O’Riabhaigh, the vocal delivery stays true and deep-rooted. The cry of “Home again, Lets try it with a little less pity, lets try it with our chins up” hits hard and true and is a great way so close the opening track. 

Next up is a more reserved and laid back track that comes in the shape of That Dog won’t hunt. When I say laid back, I’m specifically referring to the pace of the track, because the energy and feeling in the vocal delivery is as powerful as ever. At times it’s gut wrenching and despairing from an emotional perspective. You can feel and understand the intent in it’s tone. It’s an instrument in itself and is the glue that binds this EP together. The rhythm is simple and slow with more modest and restrained drums. Adding to Ian’s screams are spoken passages that are sincere and loaded with intensity. The tempo increases as emotions and feelings are openly strewn across the floor. Guitars plough ahead and churn out a sentimental and emotive melody as the lyrics “Not everything needs to kill or die or run or hide. Not this time. Nothing grows here but us” resonate and get cemented in your subconscious.

The closing track “Julien” is a completely different animal than the previous two tracks. It’s an ambient and gentle wash of sound and light, with serene-stringed reverb and repeated samples bouncing from ear to ear. It’s deeply soothing and allows for moments of reflection and contemplation. The synths continue to build and caress, adding layer after layer until the sounds gently wash away, leaving you relaxed and content. 

Ian is no stranger to the music industry, and has been in his fair share of bands over the years, and is currently in a “death-punk” band called Horse, so it’s clear to see that the talent shown in “The Early Years” is not by chance, but from hard grafting and dedication. Solo projects can often fall between the cracks and go unnoticed but this can’t afford to happen to this music. Auld Blue Eyes has created three high-powered and commanding tracks, that take you from the throes of trepidation to the equanimity of one’s self. It’s a pleasure for me to be able to help support and review local musicians and I’m hoping the international audiences that tune into Veil of Sound will pick this up, and give the opening track “The Old Country” a listen. Trust me you will play it over and over, and maybe even find that it has the ingredients to be one of the soundtracks to your summer.