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The Ballroom of Romance

Downstairs in The Lower Deck, Portobello, could be the steerage of a famine ship headed from Ireland to New York. The walls are close together, the ceiling appears to be caving in, the floor groans and creaks, sloping at a downward angle. The crowd is predominantly young, male and Guinness drinking. For some the place offers a retreat from the courtship and wooing rituals of the outside world. For others it is a place without hope. The
only numbers these men will take with them at the end of the night will be for the cloakroom; but even these will be taken from them and cruelly exchanged for tattered anoraks.

Herm and The Hermanos take the stage. Their heights are so variable that they look like a bar chart. Herm himself is relaxed and introduces the 'new additions' to the band. It appears that he has recruited one of the few females in the place to sing with him. This is a major coup and immediately wins over the attention of the crowd. 'This is a song for Mary' says Herm and, with the Hermanos, launches into a ballad of doomed love told from the perspective of a coldly detached narrator.

The band then launch into The Long Way Down, panting like dogs and slicing guitar strings with their plectrums. The song is infectiously catchy with a sinister edge as Herm sings: "I'm not that bad ... I'm worse." The tempo has
increased tenfold and sets the tone for a gig, a performance, a band which never lets you hear the same thing twice. Under Water combines every muttered curse you've every heard from an Italian or Spaniard with the
simple, adventurous plea "Let's just go_just let go."

Rosemary is the kind of song you might hear in a resort in the Algarve, populated by sunburnt British and Irish people with their families. At least it would be if it
weren't for the line "you never look as good as when you're screwing someone else," which is like broken glass in a box of Cheerios.

The band follow this with a slice of lover's angst in the form of Rearrange. It's a gem, with lines like: "I got to thinking that you/You only think about you/And all the things that you do/Bird shit on my statue." Herm never reveals the identity of whatever bitch - muse treated him so bad and maybe it's just as well, but we do know that she left behind the material for a great song and for this we can be grateful.

Herm and the Hermanos have been playing for about twenty five minutes now but "this next song is the best bit," says Herm, taking up a bass guitar. The Best Bit is a hip-hop tune with a funked up guitar riff. The crowd is hooked from the beginning. It may well be the best bit of the night but this would be splitting hairs. This is the band to grow old, experience divorce and die with. That said they're just as good when you're young, in love and full of life. You can't say that about many bands.

Shane Burke
- Shane Burke


"What's really exciting for me, as someone with a vested interest in Irish music, is that this is yet another in the long line of promising debuts from Irish musicians not afraid to stand out from their peers and, if Monsters is anything to judge by, Herm can expect to be , indeed, deserves to be, at the forefront of Irish indie music's new golden age." 8/10
Steve O'Rourke, www.cluas.com

“Bold and ambitious… a powerful showcase of a considerable talent”
4 stars, Connected.ie

“He’s blowing the concept of ‘singer-songwriter’ right off its hinges”
5/5, Subba-cultcha.com

"An impressive debut" - 4/5, Metro Ireland

"Beguiling... a must for fans of uneasy listening" 4/5, Hot Press - Various


“Like all true pop outsiders, Herm – aka Ballinasloe man Kevin Connolly – recognises the power of self-spawned myths: he claims to have been discovered as a child ‘singing in some bushes’ on the Channel Island of Herm (hence, surprise, surprise, the stage name). Musically, Connolly navigates a woozy course between Tom Waits, early Pavement and Slint (while giving the occasional nod in the direction of Nick Cave, Spiritualized and The Beatles).

From this exotic gumbo of influences, he distills a frequently sublime marriage of the theatrical and the minimalist: on his soon to be released debut album, Monsters, Herm dabbles in ragtime folk, boneyard blues and jangly indie pop. A bit of a one-man orchestra on record, Connolly is, in concert, a little more willing to share the glory. Backed by the five-piece Hermanos, he subjects his brittle compositions to wide-screen make-overs, sprucing them up with pile-driver guitar chugs, rumbling fade-ups and oodles of art-rock riffola. Grandiose and earthy in the same heartbeat, Herm is a reminder that, sometimes, the best music is to be found in the eerie spaces at the edge of town.”

- Eamon de Paor
Metro, Thursday, August 9, 2007.


Rosemary EP - 2006
Heads (single) - March, 2009
Monsters LP - April, 2009
Year Of The Horse (single) - August 2009
Rearrange (single) - May 2010



Herm is the product of a short-lived relationship in the late 70’s between Her and Him. He wrote his first song at the age of eight, about alcohol addiction…

Several years later Herm got a band of like-minds together and began songwriting and gigging in earnest. Their live shows have been by turns raucous and romantic and Herm developed his idiosyncratic style of neurotic indie rock, earning comparisons with Tom Waits, Beck and The White Stripes among others…

In 2006 Herm released the Rosemary EP on Catchy Go Go records (NPB, El Diablo, Adrian Crowley). It’s four songs were described as “in your face…catchy and splendid” and the EP has since sold out…

‘Monsters’ was recorded over several months and in several living rooms and kitchens around Ireland. Herm collaborated with artists such as guest vocalists Nina Hynes (on the bittersweet gorgeous ‘Year Of The Horse’) and Michelle Considine (on the unhinged ‘Cellar Door’) along with various other Hermanos past and present.
The collection was very well-received and featured in several Best Of 2009 polls, including those for Hot Press magazine and Phantom FM (Ireland).

‘Heads’ was the first single to be taken from the album as Herm tried to sneak it’s imagery of cannibalism and animal lust onto mainstream radio... It’s accompanying video was recently nominated for an Irish Music Television Award and has been compared to the work of Michel Gondry.

Second single ‘Year Of The Horse’ is a bittersweet duet with fellow Irish artist Nina Hynes and it received an Honourable mention from the likes of Tom Waits, Robert Smith and Ray Davies in last year’s International Songwriting Competition.

The current single is the live favourite ‘Rearrange’, an angry riposte to Gloria Gaynor’s ‘I Will Survive’…

Herm and The Hermanos will be keeping busy over the coming months with several summer festival slots in the pipeline...