The FREQUENCY-IRELAND Music Alternative

An independent voice on choice sounds from the alternative/underground music scene in Ireland.
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Saturday, April 21, 2007

79Cortinaz - New Wave Alternative Pop Punk? Drive Me Home, Mr Strain

Better late than never, 79Cortinaz will finally put out their debut album this summer, preceded by a new single release. The album was last penciled in for an Autumn release after being recorded last June with Rat Scabies (The Damned) and mixed with Mark McCabe (Maniac2000), but for one reason or another, the release was pushed out again. I took an opportunity to listen to the unmastered album tracks recently, just prior to them getting the treatment by audio guru Bob Katz.

A quick run through familiar tracks first sees an Electric Hymn Part 4 (where they finally hit the spot with a Pixies stroke Beach Boys infusion of fun) and a fitting if incidental cover of the VU's I Can't Stand It. Deirdre's Song is there too of course, their quite exceptional debut single from 2004, described before as Mercury Rev meets Grandaddy in a garage fusion. Also, their poignant Simon Community fundraiser charity single for the homeless from 2005, Nowhere To Go, features. However, do they deliver with the rest of the material? Well, we've certainly got a few new gems, none more so than in Drive Me Home, which echoes of the Deserter's Songs album from Mercury Rev in style. The jangly indie-pop of Cindy Sindy, a candidate for the single release, will also surely grow as a favourite amongst fans. Raspberry BonBons adds some indie-pop fun which delves into the near daft that is part and parcel of the 79Cortinaz individuality, but a few tracks do disappoint. In particular, Blew My Clouds Away, surely their lowest moment yet, as colloquial as the Saw Doctors, and as cringe inducing honkey-tonk as Billy Ray Cyrus. Harsh words, perhaps, but true. Some fans will love it. Not for me. The album finishes strongly however (that is, based on the provisional track listing I received) with penultimate track Snowsmoke Serenadade both dreamy and casually transcendental, yet as elusive as the 'cigarette smoke swirling up to the sky' to which it alludes its mood to. Finally, Safe At Home, a wry closing track with a fittingly isolated sax interlude, is a solid indie-pop number with which to close.

Whether the same level of anticipation is still there for the release is difficult to gauge. It's been a while since 79Cortinaz released something new, and with the highlights to their debut album now being tracks which are already a couple of years old, it has the worrying look of anticlimax about it. However, they certainly won't be needing to come calling to the Simon Community for a favour in return just yet. This album will surely be well received. On the balance, a thumbs up.

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