Modern Irish rock-pop tidal wave. If Mick Fleetwood and Paul Weller spawned a bastard love child adopted by Chris Isaak, that kid would play like Martelo.


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.


Can't Stand You Fooling Around

Written By: Alan de Bromhead

Can’t Stand You Fooling Around

Well you say you’re not even sure what you need,
And while you decide I believe,
That if you only knew…
You broke every sacred rule
Of this sentimental fool –
But say my name and you’ll fool me again.

I want to know,
Is this the love that I’ve been searching for?
All complete or is there something more?
I thought you knew the feeling’s real when it was found.
I can’t stand you fooling around.

So let me say one more time –
Let’s try not to lose what we’ve found.
I can’t stand you fooling around.

Well you lie, you twist and you spiral and turn,
And while you entwine I burn.
And if it was only true,
That I didn’t know from the start,
Of your temperamental heart,
Then I’d be absolved of the blame.

I wanna know,
Is this the love that I’ve been searching for?
All complete or is there something more?
I thought you knew the feeling’s real, when it was found,

I can’t stand you fooling around.

So let me ask one more time,
Let’s try not to lose what we’ve found.

I can’t stand you fooling around.


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

Set List

The average set lasts 45 to 60 minutes, with shows normally featuring one or two sets.

Most songs are 3-5 minutes with powerful vocals, driving rhythms, and melodic guitar.

For longer shows, an added 40 to 90 minutes of early rock/pop covers (Fleetwood Mac, Police, Kinks, Warren Zevon, Paul Simon, JJ Cale, etc.) can be mixed in, or added as a third set.