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"Irish National Radio"

"Seldom do a band come along that tick all the boxes. Step forward Martelo. Their ability to write instantly catchy, hook driven and meaningful songs puts them on a par with the best of them, if not a fraction above!"
- Jenny Greene RTE Radio 2fm

"Kildare Radio Ireland"

"Sit back relax and close your eyes... Think Damien Rice, Maroon 5, The Thrills, then imagine yourself driving down the twists and turns on a Californian coastal highway with the wind in your hair."
- Robbie Dunbar Kfm


"Charlie's Book of Big Ideas" online: 10 September 2007
"Learning Curves" 2004



The first thing most people notice about Martelo is Alan’s clear, sweet, tenor – and as the band’s principle songwriter, it’s plain that he writes to his strengths. But that’s not to overlook his tunes, which contain enough craft and insight to impress even Al’s dad, who happens to be one of Ireland’s most respected and acclaimed living Classical composers, and a member of Aosdána, Ireland’s honoured 250 “People of the Arts”.

Dubliners naturally wonder where Martelo came from. How does a band this strong, melodic, and powerful suddenly sizzle up out of the Liffey?

The answer is, they didn’t.

Working under the name “Blue Side Down”, Alan de Bromhead, Carl McEvoy and Ben O'Loughlin, together with original band-mate Jonathan Shallow spent several years subverting their precise Classical training into the beginnings of something intriguing, enough so that by 2003, producer Ken Kiernan (Clannad, The Police, etc.) agreed to come onboard. Shortly after completing their debut recordings with Ken, “Learning Curves” the lads learnt that Jonathan, who had been studying to pass the bar examine in his spare time, had made the big decision to go to America to become a lawyer. At that crucial turning point, producer Ken Kiernan responded by locking the lads in a dark windowless basement, with a drum machine, for a year.

Having served their term in hell, they emerged for a quick breath of air, changed their name to Martelo, and then, with the addition of drummer Jason Duffy (The Corrs, Declan O’Rourke, Sharon Shannon), were promptly locked into Westland Studios where, with Ken producing, Debbie Smith engineering, and Anto Drennan (Genesis, The Corrs, Clannad) coaching Carl’s guitar parts, eight well-built songs were laid down, in two rather long days.

Drummer Jason Duffy took up the kit ‘seriously’ at the age of 13, a fact that may have been influenced by Keith, the successful and accomplished bassist who’s been playing with The Corrs since 1994, and happens to be Jason’s older brother. But if Jay ever gets tired of music, he could always consider joining the Duffy family circus. Currently run by Uncle, Tom Duffy, the circus traces its roots back seven generations, to the 1840s when Patrick James Duffy gave up shoemaking to take his family on the road as a troupe of acrobats. Really. Think about that the next time someone tells you they have show business ‘in their blood’.

Carl McEvoy on the other hand grew up glued to a violin, which he eventually put down only to pick up the guitar. Carl is a subtle technician with genuine flair and a passion for precision over showmanship, so much so that, if you could manage to pry away his guitar, he might easily pass for a science teacher. In sharp contrast to most young guitarists, Carl’s playing tends towards the understated, at moments, even the sublime. Combined with Al’s catchy melodies, Jason’s back-bone solid kit, and Ben’s funky, driving bass lines, Carl’s playing bends a distinctly bluesy feel into the mix.

Given that the bassist is the most fundamental element in almost any band, we have to wonder why they are so often mentioned last, and yet, here we are doing it again. Bassist Ben O’Loughlin, the most pathologically laid-back of the lads, started playing around age 15. The story goes that when Al and Carl decided they needed a Bassist, their first thought was, “Ben might wanna play Bass” – and as it turned out, Ben did. A self-taught player, Ben has recently taken up the piano and spends his spare time doing the odd bit of low-key session work. His playing speaks, unequivocally, for itself.

In their previous incarnation the fellas have graced stages in RTE, The Sugar Club, Crawdaddy, The Village, Temple Bar Music Centre and Whelans.