What is it about the Irish that makes the music that comes from that tiny little Emerald Isle loom so large? Is it the water? Is it the Guinness? Is it the water in the Guinness? What ever it is that gets them to produce such great music such as U2, My Bloody Valentine, Snow Patrol, and Two Door Cinema Club, it’s also the same genes that produces good looks and big personalities.
Kodaline, a new group from Ireland that certainly has those big personalities, played a sold out show here in New York City last week. They looked good, and they sounded fantastic. They do big, anthemic songs suitable for an arena, where, like U2, I believe they are eventually headed.
Steve Garrigan, the lead singer, is undeniably a great singer, but he is also charismatic. In addition, he has the kind of appearance that’s likely to attract a substantial number of followers (female). At the show, there were quite a large number of enraptured women, and they were all paying attention, and singing every word. For a refreshing change, they were NOT on their phones. Apparently, the word gets around quick.
Actually, all of the other guys in Kodaline are also pretty handsome. But make no mistake—this is no boy-band. This is a group of serious musicians, great at the craft of songwriting, staging the show, and sound production, producing a crisp clean sound that made it possible to hear every word, every riff (by lead player Mark Prendergast), and each distinctive smack of the snare drum. The great sound acutely accented the unified playing of the excellent drummer (Vinnie May), and bass player (Jason Boland) so that they sounded like one man playing both instruments at the same time. To top it off, Kodaline—which, by the way, is a name that means nothing—does a sweet four part harmony, as good as any I’ve heard. I think doing perfect harmony singing is among the hardest things to achieve in pop music. That’s why you hear so little of it.
TV has already gotten hip to this group, with their song ‘All I Want’ featured on the MTV show, Catfish. It was also in Vampire Diaries, and Gray’s Anatomy. Their album is In A Perfect World. One of my personal favorites off the album is ‘Lose Your Mind,’ which they did an unbelievable version of at the show. You can check out a full version of the album that someone posted on YouTube [of course, where else?]