Get Your Irish Up
Irish have produced some of the worlds greatest poets, writers,
and musicians. From Yeats and Joyce to Bono and Morrison, the Emerald
Isle has graced us with eloquent prose as clear as the ice-blue
Irish sky and melodies as murky as a thick fog oer the peat
bogs. In that fine tradition come Young Dubliners headed by frontman
formed the band after moving to Los Angeles in the early nineties
and although there have been various line-ups, the band has developed
a strong, loyal following. Real World is their sixth album overall
and their third on the OmTown/Higher Octave label. Combining his
love of roots rock n roll with his Celtic heritage, Roberts
has come up with a gem. Asked about his approach to songwriting
and if there is a concerted effort to make it sound Irish, Roberts
responded, Over the years weve tried to get some consistency
in our sound because were drawn from two different countries
with the Irish in the band and the Americans in the band. I try
to make sure that Im not writing purely Celtic stuff and to
be a songwriter thats just trying to write a song without
any necessary restrictions. What Ive found is that the Americans
in the band, when theyre contributing to a song, tend to think
in terms of Celtic sounds. A classic example is the song Real
World, which came from a riff that Bob [Boulding] had heard
from a buddy of his and the rest of the song grew out of the riff.
Growing up in Ireland, Roberts was heavily influenced by The Boomtown
Rats, The Undertones, and other punk bands at the time. The songs
on the album clearly allude to this early influence. Touch
The Sky, the first single, pays homage to Big Country with
its driving beats and melodic chorus. OK is a hard rocker
with an Undertones feel and Say Its So conjures
up Thin Lizzy.
All the songs have memorable hooks that will have the listener humming
later in the day wondering where they heard it. Come Back
Home is a genuine knee-slapper with incredible fiddle by Chas
Waltz and uilleann pipe by Eric Rigler (Titanic, Braveheart), Fade
Away conjures up the best of Paul McCartney, and Confusion
tantalizes with a killer chorus.
When asked about his approach to songwriting in terms of lyrics
versus melody, Roberts replied, Whenever I hear a song with
a lyric I wish Id written in a hooky format I
say, Shit, killer idea, and I hear that all the time
with that band Keane. One of my favorite albums is The Bends by
Radiohead. That to me is great mix of lyrics and melody. Even U2
are the same way. I think Bono has come a long way. He used to take
a lot of shit about his lyrics, but I actually think hes a
great lyricist and a great melody writer. Im a fan of a four-minute
song with some good hooks and lyrics and a strong melody. You could
definitely have a hit with a great hook and some shite lyrics, but
it wouldnt be my cup of tea.
The Young Dubliners were fortunate enough to tour with Jethro Tull
and Ian Anderson became an instant fan. He will probably go
down in history, well in my history book, as one of the guys who
truly, truly supported this band for no other reason than personal
gratification, says Roberts. I thought it was a pipe
dream to actually get him to play on an album. He wrote me and said
hed love to do it.
Anderson is featured on the straight up Irish gig instrumental,
Banshee, which should be turned up loud for full effect.
Youll be Riverdancing all over your living room.
Special note should be given to the incredible production of the
album. Producer Tim Boland has done an amazing job. Raise a pint
for Young Dubliners. Cheers!