- 01 Feb 19
Niall Toner & Pals Strand, And Deliver.
The bitter, freezing rain batters the face on the struggle up Leeson Street, career choices are cursed and rued, and home comforts are longed after. The reason I’ve broken cover on this far-from-dry January night is Strand, the brainchild of long-time campaigner Niall Toner (Hank Halfhead, The Dixons, The Lofires), with a lot of help from both Les Keye and Duncan Maitland. Their album, Can’t Trust The Rain, which arrived late last year, successfully takes Toner’s lifelong obsessions with The Byrds, Teenage Fanclub, that hoary old hybrid of country and rock, and a load of others, and distils them down to a rich blend, flecked with sunshine.
The Debra Wallace Band, who offer support tonight after making the long trip up from Cork, put in some good work. There’s sinewy blues, hints of Sandy Denny in the vocals, and some nice Tom Verlaine style playing. There was a lot of Jefferson Airplane going on too, especially in the closing song. Look up from the floor though, lads. I know the poxy weather isn’t doing anyone any favours, but the people who did make it to the venerable Leeson Lounge are enthusiastic, so work on engaging them. Nice sound though, fair play.
It’s brave enough to open with your best song – even on an album of such uniformly high quality, ‘No Underground’ still stands out – but then they’re all pretty good, so what harm? It jingles and jangles in all the right places, the organ swirls, the backing vocals go “ooh” and “ahh” behind a perfect guitar solo where no note is wasted or outstays its welcome, and it contains the following lyrical couplet, which is worth quoting in its entirety.