Tuesday March 7, 2007

Learning To Fly

Coming On Strong: Delorentos

By Joe Kavanagh

It was always going to be tough for Irish rock music to follow up on the stellar year that was 2006, when an unprecedented number of Irish bands broke out of the national scene with a plethora of albums that exhibited innovation, guile and the kind of variety that bodes very well for the future.

Although there have been rumblings this year, so far 2007 has failed to take flight just yet but there are a few releases on the horizon to suggest that this year might yet have a few gems to offer us in the way of contemporary Irish music.

Foremost among these contenders are Dublin act, Delorentos, whose debut album finally hits shelves next month to the delight of music fans and critics alike, who have been seduced by the band's infectious indie rock, which sounds a little like the kind of music you would imagine Morrissey and the Strokes might make together, if both parties were on their A-game.

The four members of Delorentos had previously made their name with a variety of acts, having been in bands around the capital since their schooldays, before coming together four years ago in their current incarnation.

They were by their own admission, 'shite', in their nascence but a junket to the US, where they played a series of gigs around the Chicago area, seemed to focus the band and they returned to Ireland with a renewed sense of purpose.

Taking their craft seriously, they upped their effort levels and began working on a sound that they would eventually refer to as 'a mix of original alternative songwriting with sharp riffs and tight rhythms to make music that is powerful and intimate, strong and emotional.'

The formula worked and they began to attract a following throughout Dublin with their frantic live shows, where energy and intensity are essential components of the act.

Unusually, the band employs both guitarists Kieran McGuiness and Ronan Yourell, as frontmen with the duo sharing singing responsibilities and offering perfect counterpoint harmonies or even switching roles during songs.

Delorentos first came to national prominence when they were crowned champions in the Lee Cooper National Student Music Awards and went on to London in May of 2005, where they beat the best bands the UK had to offer in the tournament.

As part of their prize they won a future offer of an appearance on British music show CD:UK, a distribution deal and the chance to record their debut EP in the legendary Abbey Road Studios.

The resulting four-song release, Turn It On, appeared in November of the same year and the band's punchy, melodic sound immediately scored big with critic s throughout the island.

So far, 2007 has been all about the calm before the storm as the band put the finishing touches on their album and ready themselves for what will be the most crucial year of their career to date.

By early 2006, Delorentos were one of the hottest underground bands on the Irish musical landscape, garnering a Meteor Award nomination for best new act even though they had yet to release an album.

Such confidence in the band was wholly vindicated with the release of their follow-up EP, The Rules, which debuted at #14 in the Irish music singles chart and was a fixture on both radio and television for weeks afterwards.

The band sought to reinforce their rising public profile with a set of extensive tours of Ireland, coupled with a few brief forays over to the UK, where interest in the band has grown steadily in the past couple of years.

With their sharp, infectiously catchy riffs, smooth vocal harmonies and effervescent live shows that brim with fun the band managed to win over a slew of new followers on both sides of the Irish Sea and finished off the year with a celebrated turn on Ireland's biggest stage when they opened for Bell X1 for their sold out show in Dublin's Point Theater.

More than a few of those on hand would later claim that Delorentos stole the show on the night.

So far, 2007 has been all about the calm before the storm as the band put the finishing touches on their album and ready themselves for what will be the most crucial year of their career to date.

Already they have been announced as one of the few Irish bands chosen for this year's South By Southwest Festival, which takes place in Austin Texas on March 16/17, affording them the opportunity to showcase their sound to a who's who of the US music industry, in addition to the tens of thousands of music fans on hand.

There is something almost symmetrical about the fact that the highly prestigious event takes place on the weekend of St. Paddy's Day.

The band will also play a show in Manhattan's Sin É (212.388.0077) on March 8, which presents those of you in the area with a fantastic opportunity to catch one of the most exciting new acts in Irish rock music as they perform tracks from their album.

It would almost be remiss of me if I failed to mention that they just also happen to be four of the nicest people on the Irish Indie music scene to boot.

As for the album itself, the band announced last week that it will be titled In Love With Detail and will feature at least a dozen tracks.

They have also just released a new download-only single, Basis Of Everything, which offers further validation of just why they are creating such a buzz, with another slice of punchy Indie pop packed with catchy hooks and melodies.

It has already won Single of the Week honors in virtually any Irish radio station or publication worth regarding and although 2007 has yet to set the world on fire in the world of Irish rock music, Delorentos might just be the band to give it the spark that it needs.

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