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Killer on the loose
Radio has studiously ignored it but that doesn’t mean that Republic Of Loose’s ‘Girl i’m gonna fuck you up’ isn’t the best Irish single of the year. Tanya Sweeney meets the Dublin boys who just want to have fun.
Tanya Sweeney, 03 Dec 2003
According to the Republic of Loose’s frontman Mick, the band’s single ‘Girl I’m Gonna Fuck You Up’, is “kind of like a post-coital release… it’s about the darkness and the light, the tension and the release, the warmth and the dislocation… it’s a delicious R&B collision of opposites”.
To the rest of us, however, it’s a prime slice of unbridled R&B pleasure, a sexy and naughty mix of guitar and soul… and the shape of brilliant things to come from a band that are breathing life into a scene which was frankly threatening to go into respiratory arrest any day now. The great irony here is many Irish radio stations didn’t see it that way; for all of the single’s alluring and anthemic glory, the track was inexplicably ignored by daytime radio. It appeared that many didn’t quite get the punchline, branding the band ‘misogynistic’, ‘offensive’ and ‘profane’.
“We didn’t expect a single with the word ‘fuck’ in it to get played on daytime radio anyways,” he explains. “We had a censored version of it knocking about somewhere. Maybe they were offended by the single, maybe they just didn’t like it. We’re not too disappointed about it either way – we were never going to be the type of band that Larry Gogan or Ian Dempsey would play anyway, regardless of the lyric”.
Though their onstage banter is unmistakeably Irish, there is little clue as to the Republic’s Dublin roots in their exotic blend of gospel, R&B and indie. And it seems that’s exactly how they want it, according to Mick.
“We don’t have much in common with the bands in the Dublin rock scene… some of the bands like Listo and The Things, they have the energy that we identify with. A lot of the bands that are bigger are kind of honest, emotional rock and what we’re doing has different influences and is a little less po-faced. Apart from that, it’s such a small city, it’s got a weird culture. The same people go to the same places and it becomes very incestuous and hierarchical. Some people take the whole music scene too seriously – I mean, to get into the Top 30 in Ireland, you only have to sell 300 records, so it’s not really that big a deal.”
Despite their reservations about their hometown, it hasn’t stopped them from winning over audiences across the city. Having played a handful of Dublin shows and supported the Fun Lovin Criminals on several occasions (a band, it must be noted, with a similar musical bent), their live shows are already becoming the stuff of local legend.
“We’re definitely a rock band, but rock’n’roll was originally dance music, made for people to dance to, and showmanship is a big part of rock history, of African-American music history. The first gig I ever saw was Rory Gallagher in the Olympia, and that showmanship blew my mind,” remembers Mick.
“We mainly listen to R&B and hip-hop at the moment… Timbaland, Sly & The Family Stone, some dancehall stuff a lot of gospel, some Stones. I listen to a lot of country, but that doesn’t come out so much in the music we play. Contemporary rock music has become boring, stifled, and codified...it’s the same structure, people saying that life sucks. It’s all very sensitive, there’s no sense of joy, celebration or laughter at life.
Speaking of celebratory, it’s a joyous time for the Republic Of Loose, radio hostility notwithstanding. Having signed to the UK’s Fat Cat records, previously the home of Pavement, Will Oldham and Jeff Buckley, it’s full steam ahead as the band prepare for single releases in Germany and the UK in the coming months, and a full UK tour in December.
Republic Of Loose’s ‘Girl I’m Gonna Fuck You Up’ is out now on Fat Cat.