The Magpies

After a very enjoyable weekend at the Jack of Diamonds, I am back home again reinvigorated with a love of americana and alt-country. The festival makes you realise how many bands are actually ploughing the field in this genre. So with my love of americana once again stirred, I am back to the (very enjoyable) bread-and-butter of spreading the word on some music you might not be aware of .

One band that pipped my interest at Jack of Diamonds and that I have come across a few times before is The Magpies. Describing themselves as a Dublin five-piece who make music for the birds, the band is a collective of musicians from across Europe with members hailing from Ireland, England and Italy. Populated by members Pierpaolo Vitale (vocals, rhythm guitar,piano), Christopher Barry (lead guitar), David Blaney (drums,vocals), Steven Brennan (bass,vocals) and Nick Boon (mysteriously involved in “radio waves”) the band have been together for a number of years. There isn’t too much background on the band itself. Lead singer and songwriter Pierpaolo has appeared seems to do a bit of acting and has appeared on Balcony TV previously.

Made up of mainly guitars and rhythm, the bands sound is jangly guitars. Their first release ‘WoodY House’ is a mix between rock, tex-mex and a bit of gothic folk thrown in. Indeed when listening to the album, it’s hard to know what to expect next. Some of the stuff is great, the opening ‘Black Sun’ has a Calexico feel to it with the appegigo guitar. The rhythm is addictive which makes this song a very listenable tune.

There is some great gothic folk in the likes of the title track and the almost creepy ‘The Ballad of the Crying Clown’. The band remind me of another Irish act, Fox Jaw, in some ways. They change between styles quickly and can move from saloon style piano ballads to tex-mex rock quite fast.

The stand-out on the album is “Burning Rain”. It is reminiscent of those marching songs you might hear prisoners singing in a depression era chain gang. Always building in rhythm, the song demonstrates the great vocal harmonies present in the band.

You can download the band’s first release ‘The WoodY House’ on Bandcamp. The band are on Facebook too where you can stay updated with all their gigs and the like. They are due to release a new E.P. soon according to the Facebook so keep your ears tuned for that.

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