not a member? click here to sign up
Norn Iron born again
Pet sounds of Ulster: Kharma 45, The Undertones, Triggerman, Red Organ Serpent Sound and the late great Billy Browne. Not to mention masturbating monkeys.
Eamonn McCann, 23 Jan 2008
Kharma 45 (pictured) launched straight into ‘Come On’ – as did the heaving compression of word-perfect fans crammed hard up against the Nerve Centre stage.
And there was me thinking I’d come to check out a bunch of unknowns.
Think for a second you might be on to something first and then discover you’re second-last to know.
Kharma 45 are from the seedbed of stardom – guitarist Peter Doherty and bassist Shane McDevitt from Strabane, singer Glenn Rosborough and drummer Phil Curran from Derry.
‘Come On’ is a tune and a half, big chorus that sways you as it demands you join in, then stays in orbit in your head for a week. ‘Angels Ain’t Worth It’ is extravagantly riff-rich and jiggling with wit (“I got the devil in my head/’Cos the angels ain’t worth it”). ‘Political Soul’ is a polemic that Bono should listen to in order to learn how to do it unpreachy. ‘Luchia’ is razor-sharp and sumptuously swathed in atmospherics. ‘Asking God’ is beatific. And there’s ‘Ecstasy’, a mesmerising evocation of the giddy joy of the high – and a reminder that it can be hard to curtail the descent when your head’s upside coming down. “On my knees singing /I won’t breathe and I/Can’t sleep in this/Hotel room will just/Fall apart she said/Come to my door I’ll/Give you some more if/You’ll go easy and/Feel the beat coming/You give me sweet ecstasy /She gives me sweet ecstasy.”
Altogether, the set had more hooks than you’d find in a coat-rack factory.
‘Ecstasy’ will be released as a single in April, the album in May. Distorted, thudding bass, righteous riffs, beguiling melodies, anthemic choruses. They buzz with exuberance, walk the stage like proper musicians. They have all the credentials. The least that can be said for them is that they deserve a clear shot at it. All the evidence at the Nerve Centre suggests their aim will be unerring.
Next night, we’re back in the Magazine Street mecca for The Undertones, about whom little more can meaningfully be said. Apart from that they sound fresh as ever, which is fairly amazing, and that the Dig Yourself Deep stuff stands up straight alongside the back catalogue, which is totally amazing. As well, Paul McLoone is singing better than at any time since the distant days of The Carrellines at the Dungloe.