- 13 Jul 20
A solid post-punk effort from Co. Cavan natives.
It's a little surprising that Sons of Southern Ulster weren't on my radar, given their near-constant comparison to Fontaines D.C. The Cavan quartet have, in actuality, been around much longer than the Dublin City post-punk group, potentially doing more to inspire the ever-growing popularity of that distinctive sound than they do to emulate it.
Their second album Sinners and Lost Souls is the group's first offering in five years, and it capitalises on that broadly categorised version of post-punk, occasionally crossing the border into pop-rock. Songs like 'Ms. McDonagh' and 'Busaras Boy' allow a look in at what it might have been like to grow up in this country in the bleak late 70s and early 80s, with refrains like, 'Country boy, remember from whence you came' carried aloft by droning guitars.
Sinners and Lost Souls, while successfully tapping into a niche cultural sound, isn't without its issues. In the best spirit of punk, it's abrasive – but rather than revelling in being difficult to digest, it quickly becomes formulaic, forceful on paper without packing the same kind of punch in practice. Musically, the album is much more melodic than a lot of proper post-punk – but the vocal stylings have the distinct half-spoken quality so often used by punk artists.
"Shoes of Strong Leather" begins as one of the standout tracks, but rapidly develops into the same tonal quality as the rest of the album. Predictability is death for a punk album. Good punk can (and should) be an absolute assault to the senses. It should keep you on your toes at every second, have you questioning every twist and turn the album takes. But punk and post-punk were created as responses to a scene, and while it might not be the most groundbreaking stuff sonically, Sinners and Lost Souls is certainly an album reflective of the chaos and anger of the times.
- Out Now.