- 19 Mar 21
Plenty of blood and thunder from Belfast's finest.
Hailed by this very magazine as one of the finest guitar bands in the land, your humble scribe has been helping spread the good word of New Pagans in HP ever since their life affirming 2016 single ‘I Could Die.’ The last five years has seen the Belfast-based quintet back up that boast and more, steadily growing in confidence while amassing new converts with each cranium cracking release. This week the numbers of their cult are sure to multiply like a water soaked mogwai thanks to the arrival of their much anticipated full length The Seed, The Vessel, The Roots And All.
Buoyed by an impressive pedigree (members of Jetplane Landing, Girls Names and the seminal, why weren’t they fucking huge Fighting With Wire feature in their ranks), their debut album is brimming with enough blood and thunder to rival Thor’s 18 th birthday party and every bit as exhilarating as we had hoped. The marriage of Lyndsey McDougall’s gloom laden vocals and imagery with Cahir O’Doherty’s unmistakable, utterly explosive fret wizardry is nothing short of magnetic and a match made in whatever celestial never never land you ascribe to.
Telling tales of motherhood and real life monsters whilst drawing inspiration from the likes of Lily Yeats (‘Lily Yeats’) and Charlotte Perkins Gilman (‘Yellow Room’), their debut is a goth, indie and rock fuelled mongrel that packs plenty of bite. Standouts include the bewitching alt ballad ‘Admire’ and the aforementioned ‘I Could Die,’ which sees New Pagans channel their inner house-band on the Titanic.
Criticisms? Well six songs on their 11 track debut already appeared on 2020 EP ‘Glacial Erratic’ and we would’ve preferred a few more fresher cuts on the opus instead. Thankfully New Pagans still have some surprises up their sleeve though.‘Ode To None,’ which opens with a country-speckled riff before returning to more familiar territory, sees Lyndsay showcase a more tender vocal style, while the effervescent ‘Natural Beauty’ is almost pop punk (think Therapy?’s ‘Loose’ rather than aural excrement like New Found Glory).
Boasting more short, sharp shocks than a dodgy phone charger, The Seed, The Vessel, The Roots And All is a beautiful record from start to finish and may very well help elevate New Pagans to god-like status in the rock world over the months ahead.
• Out now, 8/10