Carlow /Kilkenny trio Exiles formed in late 2015 and Red Lights is their debut EP. Darragh O’Connor (Guitar/Synths), Johnny Smee (Keys/Electronic Drums) and Jack O’Flaherty (Vocals/Guitar), combine electro pop with ’80s guitars. Heavy on the Hall and Oates, the Kenny Loggins and the likes of Japan and ABC, they fit in nicely with All Tvvins, MGMT, and the plethora of electronic anthemic pop bands of that ilk.
Opening track ‘Autopilot’ offers first impressions of ’80s new romantics Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark and indigenous dancefloor heroes, Le Galaxie. The ballad ‘Holding On’ is more like Simple Minds and Bastille.
The sheen of ‘One Horse Town’ is uber-professional and Exiles can certainly write a song with commercial appeal, but if you are looking for original music you will leave Red Lights disappointed.
There are two versions of the title track to round off the EP; a radio edit of the song is the final track. It’s another accomplished track that will fit in on radio stations wishing to fulfil their quota of Irish music without alienating their audience by playing something different from the major label schlock.
It feels like it’s been done before. Red Lights is as good as any of its pop peers but in the current deluge of slick retro tinged pop there is nothing to differentiate Exiles in this overcrowded market.