Breaking rules comes easy to the Tin Pot Operation, whilst many of their contemporaries were finding simple niche sounds that were out-of-the-box ready for plastering over that oh-so-touching scene where the new pretty-but-quirky doctor loses her first patient, the TPO were locked in a old Linen Mill in West Belfast hammering out a sound they wanted to make, a sound that defined their own experiences and that felt right.
Keeping it simple, stripped to the bone; guitar, bass and drums and just building songs from the bottom up. The members draw influences from Motown, Bowie, The Clash, Talking Heads, Hendrix through to Radiohead, The Pixies, Aphex Twin and Spearhead.
Their approach needed some serious hard work and nerves of steel to pull off. The early gigs left audiences confused and struggling for comparison, so it was necessary to beat them into submission. Clocking up almost 200 shows in 2 years debuting new songs and sounds at every one, the cream started to rise to the surface. The audience began to become fans with the songs stuck in their heads and on their lips, something was clicking.
Next TV appearances on local, regional and then beyond: being featured in a documentary on the Franco-German arts channel Arté resulted in a whole new audience for their music
An early 14 track sparse and fractious debut album "Manufacturing Dissent" staked their agenda fair and square. No-nonsense, uncensored and passionate. The TPO just bared their souls. Followed by a more melodic pop-centred EP "Here!" which started whispers that this band had something special - reviews noted "Melodic riffs and emotional commitment it's impossible to ignore." Culture Northern Ireland. Starting to earn descriptions like the Belfast Clash the TPO released their most accomplished release to date, the download single "Blackeye". A blistering, foot to the Floor tirade borne from the killing of a brazilian electrician following the London bombings.
Again the reviews were glowing identifying the band with the sounds of Stiff Records circa 1982 and declaring "[Blackeye] is nothing short of monstrous"
Still building on a tremendous live reputation the last 18 months has seen support slots with The Stranglers, The Damned, Aslan and a slot at the Belfast NYE celebrations alongside David Holmes, Foy Vance and Ocean Colour Scene as well as a tour of some great venues in France alongside local heroes Tchiki Boum. At present the TPO are locked in a studio crafting their 2nd album entirely of previously unreleased material. The LP to be titled "Human Resources" is destined for release in Late Summer 2008 and is already being eagerly awaited (see www.wiredupNI.com)
Musically, there is no "lead guitarist" or "lead vocal". The roles are constantly and effortlessly swapped between Anto and Ray. Drummer Brian is precise and perceptive, and bassplayer Shaz defines the core of each song, a genuine and unique virtuoso in the band.
Powerful, infectious, breathtaking, electric, passionate have all been used to describe the TPO live on stage.
WHAT THE PRESS SAY
"..Tin Pot Operation..sound exactly like a band from Stiff Records circa 1982, taking the scraps from Mick Jones' and Elvis Costello's table and making it work! ...New single "Blackeye" is nothing short of monstrous" Edwin McFee, BBC Across The Line.
"...this is a Gang of Four observing the anger of a post ceasefire Belfast youth who arent just concerned with The Troubles. The war in Iraq, the media and racism all get a kicking on stage through some upbeat and well crafted songs. To mix music and politics in the North is brave but in the TPOs case not stupid." Charlotte Dryden, The Fly
"...A-Bomb On Botanic Avenue...Definitely a reminder about what's good about the Libertines here..." Roadhouse Mag
"...It has a lot of appeal for a lot of people, with hints here and there of The Police...and their pop rock is colourful and bouyant. As the band poised to take the classic NI complaint-as-lifestyle into the 21st century of music they have potential, given that everyone loves nothing more than a west belfast missive..." Ciaran Tracey, Fastfude.com and Metal Ireland.
"...coming across like a hybrid of The Jam and The Levellers, Politics seemed to be the central theme to their songs. They finished off the set with a rousing self-penned punk stomper called Bored With Belfast which met with mass approval from the audience, and rightly so. "Bored" is a killer punk tune and if TPO keep coming up with material on a similar par, then I reckon they have a bright future indeed. Definitely one to watch out for..." PunkandOIUK
SHARED A BILL WITH
Ocean Colour Scene
Fighting with Wire
Red Organ Super Sound
Anto O'Kane - Vocals, Strat
Ray Lawlor - Vocals, Tele
Shaz Morgan - Bass
Brian Steenson - Drums
Manufacturing Dissent (2005) LP
Here! It's the Tin Pot Operation (2005) EP
Black Eye, Single, Available on itunes US, EU, JA and CA, Napster, Rhapsody and SOnyConnect from 4th December 2006.
Human Resources, full album, (2008)
Tracks have been included on the following compilation albums:
Love Music Hate Racism '05
Deis Roc '06
"Black Eye" and "Rather you than Me" have been performed live on the BBC NI show "An Stuif Ceart"
"Frontline" and "Eirimis Feasta" were played live on the Irish TG4 talent show Deis Roc earning the band a place in the FINAL by an audience Text Vote.
"Bored wi' Belfast" "These Fires Burn" and "Rather you than Me" featured as the centrepiece to a documentary broadcast across France and Germany on the established terrestrial TV network "Arté"
Tracks later picked up and playlisted on Radio Frei FM Munich and many other European FM and internet stations.
Tracks played on Internet radio stations all over the US and Australia.
Tracks have appeared on many podcasts including the Top rated "NEW MUSIC IRELAND" cast, "Futureless Radio" "Letter to America" and others.
Regular airplay on BBC Radio Ulster, BBC Radio Foyle, Downtown Radio, Down FM, and appearences on community TV cahnnel NvTv.
What the metalheads think!
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"...It has a lot of appeal for a lot of people, with hints here and there of The Police (cough), and..."...It has a lot of appeal for a lot of people, with hints here and there of The Police (cough), and their pop rock is colourful and bouyant. As the band poised to take the classic NI complaint-as-lifestyle into the 21st century of music they have potential, given that everyone loves nothing more than a west belfast missive..."
What "The Fly" thinks!
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"...this is a gang of four observing the anger of a post ceasefire Belfast youth who arent just conc..."...this is a gang of four observing the anger of a post ceasefire Belfast youth who arent just concerned with The Troubles. The war in Iraq, the media and racism all get a kicking on stage through some upbeat and well crafted songs. To mix music and politics in the North is brave but in the TPOs case not stupid."
What the Punks think!
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"...coming across like a hybrid of The Jam and The Levellers Politics seemed to be the central theme..."...coming across like a hybrid of The Jam and The Levellers Politics seemed to be the central theme to their songs They finished off the set with a rousing self-penned punk stomper called Bored With Belfast which met with mass approval from the audience, and rightly so. Bored is a killer punk tune and if TPO keep coming up with material on a similar par, then I reckon they have a bright future indeed. Definitely one to watch out for.
FULL review of EP
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As a rule bands with a social conscience are deeply unsexy. Think of Coldplay and, God forbid, Chumb...As a rule bands with a social conscience are deeply unsexy. Think of Coldplay and, God forbid, Chumbawamba. Thankfully, Tin Pot Operation don’t go in for facile sermonising.
Latest release, the 6-track EP, Here, It’s The Tin Pot Operation, is a guttural punk-rock lambasting of social ills and injustice. From opener Rather You Than Me, the agenda is clear, The Tin Pot Operation are here to shame you out of your apathy.
Rambunctious and avowedly political, there is no doubting that this can make for uncomfortable listening. Here, It’s The Tin Pot Operation remains as thematically and lyrically uncompromising as the band’s debut album Manufacturing Dissent.
Courtesy of the Tin Pot OperationMusically, however, this latest release is a much more structured and coherent record. On songs such as Rather You Than Me and United Nations, lyrical vitriol is tempered by astute use of melody and rhythm. The rhapsodic Million To One with its scuzzy guitars reminds us that the band can be pleasingly rough-hewn when they want to be.
Soul is the weakest track here. A would be blast against dead-end drudgery, it misfires badly with the trite lyric doing little to alleviate some rather characterless riffery. Final track Less Than The World reprieves the situation. The EP’s standout track, Less Than The World, is heartfelt and morally committed, utilising the sort of melodic hooks you simply cannot ignore.
Locally the contemporary music scene is awash with inward looking, narcissistic scenesters who seem content to ape the current NME crush. In acknowledging that they are from Northern Ireland and that for all its foibles and follies they care about this place and its people, The Tin Pot Operation will never be the poseurs favourite.
However, if they can maintain the levels of musical progression evidenced by this EP and avoid becoming polemical ranters, they will undoubtedly prove themselves to be a band of greater substance and staying power than their fleetingly hip contemporaries.
Fans of Stiff Records...
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Review of BelFEST gig, Lavery’s Bunker, Belfast, Nov 06 “Hello Glastonbury…oh wait,” grins Ti...Review of BelFEST gig, Lavery’s Bunker, Belfast, Nov 06
“Hello Glastonbury…oh wait,” grins Tin Pot head honcho Anto O’Kane to the assembled masses of 16 punters, a few bouncers and your humble ATL correspondent. It’s 9 o’clock and by all accounts the West Belfast trouble-makers have gotten the fuzzy end of the lollipop. Again. But that doesn’t seem to matter too much to Anto’s mob. It’s been a long time since this writer last saw the Tin-Pot’s and all those hoary old clichés about practise making perfect seem to be true.
The Tin Pot Operation in 2006 sound exactly like a band from Stiff Records circa 1982 (ask your Da). They’re taking the scraps from Mick Jones’ and Elvis Costello’s plate and making it work. They also seem to realise that all the best bands were gangs. Like Lizzy or “Da Brudders” before them, the Tin-Pots are a bona fide bunch of misfits. At times the broad, Belfast accent grates a little, but hey, nobody’s perfect.
New single ‘Black Eye’ is nothing short of monstrous though, as is the set closer ‘Bored with Belfast’ Tonight the Tin Pots scoop the award for ‘most improved band at belFEST’ by a country mile. Hopefully next year they’ll be further up the bill. Bored with Belfast? Possibly. Bored with the Tin-Pots? Not yet.
Edwin McFee, BBC Across The Line
Alternative Ulster's "Class of 2006" round up of best in North
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The Tin Pot Operation – An avowedly and uncompromisingly, politically engaged band, the TPO utilise ...The Tin Pot Operation – An avowedly and uncompromisingly, politically engaged band, the TPO utilise voice, guitar, bass and drums as weapons of moral education. Bands with a social conscience are all too rare here, but over two records, ‘Manufacturing Dissent’ (2005) and ‘Here It’s The Tin Pot Operation’ (2006) these polemical punk-rockers have been shaming audiences out of their apathy. Their mix of snottily indignant lyricism, salty guitar abrasion and contemplative atmospherics provide for rousing, conscious music for the masses.
How many unsigned original bands regularly do a 2 hour set of tight 3-4 minute pop tunes without a cover in sight? (well maybe an odd dose of The Specials).
Rather You than Me
Right and Wrong
Sooner the Better
Same Old Story
What you Said
Keep it Together
What Have You Done?
Eirimis Feasta (We shall rise up)
Million to One
Ticket Outta Here
These Fires Burn
Bored wi' Belfast.
There are no upcoming dates at this time.