- 02 Jan 19
Strand From The Place Where We Live
Long, long ago, before many of you were born, there was a Dublin band called The Dixons, fronted by Niall Toner, Jr, fresh from his time alongside his bluegrass playing Pa in Hank Halfhead & The Ramblin’ Turkeys – bands had proper names in those days. All long hair and twang, their country rocking was good value, from debut Mother Records single ‘I Have Fun’ to the is-this-a-long-lost-Byrds-outtake? ‘Wait’ to abandoned album Exile On Dame St. which we should celebrate for its title alone. Toner has resurfaced a few times since, most notably with The Lofires, and now here he is again with Strand.
If you’re partial to a bit of Teenage Fanclub, Big Star, Cosmic Rough Riders, or the like, then Happy Christmas. The riffs in ‘Best Laid Plans’ could slot easily onto #1 Record, as could most of the stuff here (‘Roadkill’ has a fair go at re-writing ‘In The Street’). ‘Stole A Train’ has a distinct hum of High Llama off it, and ‘No Underground’ is simply a beautiful breeze of a song; “Just let the needle in the groove do all the work for you, let it all sink through” Hopeless to argue with advice like that, better to sit back and listen as the harmonies carry the song off to its rightful home in the clouds.
The brief coda after ‘Country That You Came From’ is like a sunrise breaking through, ‘Ingenue’ evokes the ghost of Gram Parsons, and, in another universe, we’re all dancing around in a field to ‘Can’t Trust The Rain’. A welcome blast of summer to light the winter dark. A shame it arrived too late for those end of year polls, because it deserves to be right up there.
Do yourself a favour.