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Hard Working Class Heroes
Celina Murphy and Maeve Heslin, 18 Oct 2012
Friday introduces two particularly shiver-inducing new acts from Dublin: house producer Frank B, who found success online this year with his reworking of Aretha Franklin’s seminal ‘Chain Of Fools’, and Channel One offshoot Forrests. In the Workman’s Club, Paul O’ Reilly and Owen O’ Mahony of Forrests provoke many a comparison to French soundscapers M83 with their throbbing electronic melodies and poppy arrangements.
Also impressive on the festival’s second night are Cavan songwriter Lisa O’Neill, whose charming colloquialisms and Celtic lilt soften the impact of her truly unusual voice; hard-edged alt. rockers Croupier; floor-filling dream pop-ers Young Wonder; and scuzzy post-punk foursome Girl Band, whose dodgy ‘tween-song banter will be forgiven, so long as they promise to keep writing those sinister melodies. Dark and eerie, Berlin-based female electro duo Kool Thing aren’t a million miles away from the haunting beats of The xx, while back at the Button Factory, We Cut Corners prove they’re all grown up, with one of the most polished performances we’ll see all weekend. Highlights include a spine-tingling version of ‘Pirate’s Life’, showcasing Conall Ó Breacháin’s tear-to-the-eye vocal, and set closer, ‘Go Easy’, where the pair harmonise beautifully.
Overall, that attendances are often sparse at the lesser gigs in particular must be dispiriting for the artists, but they soldier on. Saturday’s aural delights include the glimmering chart-ready electronica of Sleep Thieves, peerlessly-tight instrumental rockers Wiltz, and the retro-styled garage pop of September Girls. In the Mercantile, ska folk act Familiar Creatures ensure HP’s hips are kept swaying, while in the Pepper, Dublin electro duo White Collar Boy mix things up a live female vocal. Over in the Workman’s Club, meanwhile, shapeshifting pop miscreants Grand Pocket Orchestra draw the HWCH decade to a close with a relentlessly energetic set, showing off a heavier new direction – not to mention drummer Enda Canavan – on some fearlessly bizarre tracks.