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Regressive Rock

The Debonaires
Regressive Rock - album cover pic
  • Punchline
  • Troubles
  • All these battles
  • Babysteps to nowhere
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THE DEBONAIRES
KATY DALY’S, BELFAST

debonairesNorthern Ireland needs a hit. A no-holds-barred, top ten anthem you could set your watch to, a tune that'll be sung by drunken students across the land. A song that'll demand people pay attention, that'll throw down the gauntlet for the half dozen great bands floating about aimlessly in this tiny little country.

And The Debonaires could well be the band for the job. Seriously, they've at least three tunes that would more than suffice. They may not drip cool onstage or reel out wonderful soundbites between songs, and they don't adhere to or threaten to provoke any kind of a scene. But armed with the likes of ‘Waiting for Something To Happen’ and ‘All These Battles’ they're still totally unmissable. You need them in your life.

[ SNIP ]

[ Vapour Lounge ]'re no Debonaires though. From the outset it’s obvious the Deb's aren't firing on all cylinders: there's a few sound problems (mostly because singer Dave won't stop swinging his mike, the rascal), one too many new tunes, and a bizarre, if memorable Talking Heads cover version. But you see way past the hiccups to a hugely talented quintet of musicians armed with choruses sent from heaven.

Let’s face it though. Unless someone takes the plunge with this lot soon, chances are they'll vanish from the scene taking a handful of lost classics with them.

Which would be nothing shy of an utter travesty.

David O’ Reilly

Images by David O’ Reilly

‘Across the line’, BBC Northern Ireland 18.06.03

 
     
 
   
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THE DEBONAIRES
THE EMPIRE, BELFAST

There’s plenty of life here. Drama, pomp and pathos. Pleasant tunes with lyrics about great deceptions and oscilloscopes. A band that looks like it was picked from every available Ulster subculture. A bass player who wobbles his cheeks in time to the music. Some intellectual banter, a dose of giggling and a small but very passionate gathering of Debs devotees.

dave, the debonairesSinger Dave has followed a peculiar steer over the last five years. The band Flummox were messy and ill-focussed, but with an ear for grungey poetics and the yowl of J Mascis. Then there was Volvograd, a band that amplified the great and the ridiculous parts of rock and roll in confusing measures.

The Debonaires have kept some of those ill-fitting issues. Importantly though, Dave can ride out the contradictions, grinning as the ideas collide. So half of the music is ironic and in "quotation" marks. But a few seconds later, something emotional and pertinent peels out of the clown suit. And Dave is confidently marshalling all this stuff around.

That ‘Stream Of Consciousness’ song is a moot example. The synth line is royally daft. The words are rather rum. Yet the overall idea rocks. Likewise with the closing song that puts a sore relationship into a national/global context, and still raises a few smiles. How very smart. And how very welcome.


Stuart Bailie

The Debonaires, The Empire, Belfast, 2.10.03

 

 
     
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This page last modified: Sunday, 17-Aug-2008 19:45:06 BST
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