IRISH SHOEGAZE: LAND LOVERS SHARE BRAND NEW ALBUM IN FULL
NEW ALBUM THE ROOKS HAVE RETURNED – OUT 16TH MAY VIA POPICAL ISLAND
“Attests to the health of domestic independent music.”
4/5 – Metro
“Quality prevails throughout…”
4/5 – Record Collector
“Magnificent, haunting worlds of domestic wonder… A rare gem of a record”
Irish Shoegaze band Land Lovers are streaming their brand new album in full, The Rooks Have Returned, out 16th May on Popical Island. The album is premiering over on Songwriting Magazine now.
Founding members and key contributors to the Popical Island collective in Ireland (Paddy Hanna, Tieranniesaur, Squarehead, Ginnels, No Monster Club, etc.), Land Lovers are central to the ever-growing Dublin guitar pop scene in recent years. The band have also toured with and opened for the likes of Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks,Yuck, The Mantles, Nodzzz, Ham Sandwich and The Wave Pictures.
Album opener ‘Springtime for the Mystics’ lilts and sighs as it flirts with bombast, taking musical cues from Future Islands, New Order, the Bowie of Berlin and the things at hand, like a dubiously-tuned old grand piano and a MiniMoog.
The lyrical milieu is an imagined future for one of the children in revolutionary Dublin between Volunteer positions at Easter 1916. Relocated to Liverpool, he succeeds in mainstream politics and attains some power but his background is a constant source of worry, and there is a scandal (personal? political?) waiting to break. Weaved into this are occult visions, false dawns, untrustworthy harbingers of spring and the paranoia of the self-made man. The mood is rueful and unsentimental.
‘Angeline’ is a jangly, ‘50s inspired anthem accompanied by shuffling drums, nodding to vintage northern indie. The song reminisces from the perspective of an older man, looking back on his youth and recalling ‘the one that got away’. Lead vocalist, Padraig Cooney, references memories from his own childhood – ‘Orwell’ and ‘The Trads’ were rival ‘gangs’ in the singer and guitarist’s hometown in Ireland. Cooney told PopMatters: “Angeline’ is rooted in our love for the time when rock ‘n roll got a bit sophisticated in the late ‘50s and early ‘60s. It’s a foot in the waters of Bobby Darin, Carole King and Joe Meek.
He adds: “It’s lyrically faithful to that time too, with its school setting, but as with many Land Lovers songs, we’ve tried to invest common tropes with something else: something sinister, or high minded or conceited or satirical. In this case, the complacent singer mistakes harmless teenage messing for dangerous gang activity and overestimates his own subsequent success in gaining a place in ‘the firmament’. However, we think it’s important not to deliver this kind of song with an eyebrow arched. It’s a sincere pop ballad.”
Land Lovers are at their bittersweet best in ‘Crowd of Lungs’. The song races along, with a sugary melody punctuated by sudden declarations, before finding its way into an even more urgent bridge –reminiscent of late ‘70s Elvis Costello & the Attractions – and finally a yawning half-paced coda of arpeggios and regret.
Having started life as the solo project of Padraig Cooney, releasing the album Romance Romance, Land Lovers became a 5-piece band for the Immovable Feet EP and theacclaimed Confidants LP. In the gap between that album and The Rooks Have Returned, the band collaborated with Limerick’s Choice Prize-nominated Windings on a split LP.
Meanwhile, Cooney made 2 albums as Skelocrats and bassist Shane Murphy made music with Switzerland and No Monster Club. Drummer Maggie Fagan (Grand Pocket Orchestra) and keyboardist Conor Deasy (Biggles Flys Again, Tomorrows) joined the band in 2015. Guitarist Ciaran Canavan is a mainstay.