by Joe McNulty
When it comes to up and coming Irish bands, one such band who have been turning heads of late is a band from my “home –from –home”, Cork’s The Altered Hours. Their blend of psychedelic music has certainly added something different to the Irish music scene, wooing and hypnotising fans all over Europe; from the recently reopened Connolly’s of Leap, Co. Cork, to Ex Dogana in Rome. Edging towards the darker side of psychedelic rock, with even elements of grunge thrown into the mix, their emergence is refreshing considering the current national scene is saturated with electronic artists, and a pool of singer-song writers that could drown the nation.
With absorbing guitar and the melodic layered vocals of Cathal MacGaghann and Elaine Howley, The Altered Hours don’t edge towards the side of caution, and explore very much outside the box. With quirks and noises that are designed to offer as unique of a sound as their experimental exploration has allowed them to go. Since first hearing them a couple years back with their track Sweet Jelly Roll, from the EP of the same name, I instantly sat up and took notice. Touches of Sonic Youth, Jefferson Airplane and even the sprang to mind initially, but as they’ve progressed, so has their music, and it can be as much abstract and experimental as it can be gushing with energy, with the bass and drums the driving force behind this sometimes rampaging energy.
What lures you in the most though, is that they peak your interest from the get-go. Instead of an approving nod of the head to the opening guitar hook or drums, your interest begins with a question; “What is this?”, and “where is it going?” They’re different, when different is good. Enticing you in with their uniqueness, leaving you inquisitive in the best possible way, until you eventually succumb to that inevitable approving nod of the head, impossible to fight any longer. It’s like being teased and scratched, until that moments release is soothed by gentle strokes of harmonious head twisting psychedelic bliss.
IN HEAT NOT SORRY is their first full length album, recorded at the Funkhaus studio in Berlin and released through Art For Blind and Penske Recordings. Boasting ten tracks that can be on the one hand tranquillity personified, and on the other chaotic and twisted, these contrasting sounds will engage you from the very first note. The album is available on 12″ vinyl / CD / Digital via Art For Blind Records & Penske Recordings. Their experimental nature and layered song structure will leave enough to the imagination to discover new elements with every listen. A truly fascinating band with the potential to make a big contribution to the musical landscape, both here in Ireland and further afield, with the UK in particular currently experiencing something of a renaissance in the psychedelic genre. You can also listen to The Altered Hours on Soundcloud.