The #1s are a Dublin punk-pop four-piece who come with bags of attitude and a mission statement which is every bit as energetic as their sound; To play every town in Ireland before getting banned from England in the summer and North America in the autumn.
The group are tried and tested on the ever competitive Dublin circuit, both through The #1s and various other bands including The Pacifics and Cian Nugent & The Cosmos. But it’s The #1s which represents a collective ethos and shared enthusiasm of members Conor Lumsden, Cian Nugent, Eddie Kenrick and Seán Goucher.
Their self-titled LP is released through Deranged Records on August 5th, and if that rather brash mission statement failed to grab your attention, well fear not. This record will hold it.
You may have to venture slightly off the beaten track to catch this band live. When we think of Dublin we automatically think of the hugely trendy Temple Bar with its cosmopolitan night spots and collar wearing socialites. This is an arena which is simply too mainstream for an outfit as brazen as The #1s-a group which challenges you to look beneath the surface of the music and explore a pure sound, born of past glories and crafted on the gritty back streets of Ireland’s capital.
Heartsmash is the lead track. It’s a flash of high tempo colour delivered with an air of familiarity and that magical garage feel.
It opens through an attention seeking, subtly powerful and perfectly tinny drumbeat. The track unfolds delivering what may be described as “off the beaten track” Undertones. And that north of the border punky vibe flows, becoming an enthrallingly prevalent theme throughout.
Goucher provides vocal lead on the track, delivering a signature overtone plucked straight from the thrilling mid-to-late ’70’s. If The #1s chemistry is born of attitude, then Heartsmash provides a certain self-awareness born of pure Dublin city confidence.
The track ends on the same note from which it began-abrupt yet to the point.
Sixteen had paved the way for the lead track, following on from I Wish I Was Lonely to provide an extension of that preceding energy. It represents the further exploration of a range which is colourful and three dimensional- and by now gloriously untrendy.
Sharon Shouldn’t offers a slight directional change as Kenrick takes lead vocal, delivering a slightly softer and perhaps more comprehensible performance. His voice adds melody to those fast-paced, tinny guitar riffs as the track takes on the persona of what can sometimes be the elusive added dimension.
Back to back sequel tracks Boy & Girl take us into the realms of raw garage pop. Boy opens the gate through its fizzy, pulsing enthusiasm before Girl delivers a timely surprise- the track is a ballad laced with romance. It carries the same heart as before but channels its energy in a slightly different manner to that which we may already be accustomed to from The #1s- a demonstration in diversity from the Dubliners.
The Number Ones forces you to abandon your preconceptions as you explore a record which deepens as it unfolds to reveal that wonderful hint of ‘Buzzcocks’ and layers of bright, arty pop sprinkled with a pure and welcoming warmth. And that arty pop is wonderfully abstract to boot.
The album feels impulsive and refreshingly unrehearsed. And if venturing off the beaten track is the order of the day, then so be it. Sometimes we have to dig slightly deeper to uncover a gem in its purest form. This is the domain of The #1s. And hey, Temple Bar is a rip-off anyway, right?
The Number Ones is available from August 5th through Deranged Records.