Sounds of System Breakdown (SOSB)
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Sounds of System Breakdown (SOSB)

Dublin, Leinster, Ireland | SELF

Dublin, Leinster, Ireland | SELF
Band EDM Rock


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Harmless Noise EP Review"

The debut album by Sounds Of System Breakdown impressed me hugely on its release in January 2010. The eighteen-month interim leading to their following output has done nothing to dampen my ardour: Colour, their new EP, doesn’t miss a beat in picking up where the album left off.

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The opening title-track Colour is loaded and leading but I love the riffy Reversism, that said I’m hard-pressed to really pick a favourite. This is good work. SOSB have done an odd thing in the run-up to the release with pre-order offers of 50¢ for the EP with the immediate download of a track, followed by digital download code on the release date. Other offers are CD inc. digital for €5, or launch gig tickets, CD and digital download for €9. Can’t fault ‘em.

Sounds of System Breakdown‘s Colour EP is launched tomorrow night, 10 June at Crawdaddy. Support comes from the UK band Montage Populaire. Doors are 11:30 and admission is only €5 – late gig funtimes bargain! The flyer’s below. Brighten up your life. -

" EP Review"

It’s been a fine year for Dubliners Sounds Of System Breakdown. Their self-titled debut won plenty of interest, seeing the electro-rockers rise to the top end of many of Ireland’s smaller festival bills and even win a ranking position on State’s albums of 2010. An emotive performance on the main stage of Vantastival – during which the band made a permanent drummer swap mid set – had a previously empty tent throbbing and twisting along like someone had introduced a Buckfast drip. The energy and enthusiasm that’s begun to permeate crowds at the live shows gives the general sense of a band inching their way towards the upper echelons of the local music scene.

The Colour EP is something of a stopgap. Recorded as a ‘snapshot of the present and a taster for the big one that’s round the corner’, it consists of four pleasingly energetic, synth-driven dance floor numbers that are genuinely difficult to listen to without swinging the odd hip, or, at times, leaping about the room manically. The title track is perhaps their smoothest effort yet, a slow builder that lacks the band’s trademark bleepy instrumentals, but bursts into a slow-building, synthy chorus. ‘Abandoned Buildings’ is a darker moment: restrained, and built around an almost organic throb, it’s shoved along by the harsh keyboard undertones of the chorus and enhanced by a subtly experimental electro bridge. Then there’s ‘Reversism’, perhaps the highlight, an escapist slow-builder that pushes the lyrics to the fore and channels hefty loud/quiet contrasts fused with angst and shape throwing.

There’s a notable change of direction to the EP: seeming to be edging away from the sporadic jingly electro-instrumentals of their debut in favor of a harsher, heavier style. Harsher though it is, Colour seems to lack the ‘guitar in crowd’ rock out moments that have become a key part of the live show, focusing instead on an intense electronic edge and bustling, flowing style. They remain, though, one of those fiercely danceable, bouncy-electronic acts that seem to lodge themselves in your skull for hours at a time. The EP’s introduction of a more direct style is a nice album teaser, and will serve well in pushing on an already impressive live show. -

"Thicket's There Album Review-March 2010"

The day has finally arrived, Tickets There has gone out and bought some music from those MySpace bands we keep preaching to ye about. A refreshing trip to Tower Records on Sunday replenished our supplies and we can finally knock off the net for awhile, sit back and listen to a good old fashioned CD.

Originally we were convinced we’d be disappointed. Was pretty sure we were euphoric, found these guys and praised them to the heavens while pulsed. Couldn’t remember any of the tracks and hadn’t even reread the review to make sure we really were ecstatic about them at some point. After one spin we knew our toutin’ money was well invested.

Filled with techno Trojan dance beats, indie power riffs, post punk and the occasional moment of surprisingly un-cheesy melodies, the album is a triumph. As debuts go, Sound of System Breakdown have avoided falling into any of the common Irish debut traps. They don’t open with the best, they don’t lose their intensity and they sound damn good.

Songs like the Devil’s Son, 10 Pack of Johnny Blue, Electrolysis and Mood Enhancers and the obligatory instrumental, Jaysyehhaventacluedoyeh are hits in every sense while harder album tracks like The Band Played, the Stone Roses-esque – The Secret’s Out and Underneath The Floorboards will keep you listening long after the catchier ones wear off.

At €14, you can’t really beat it for Value. If you’re in tower, pick this up and if you don’t like it, we guarantee you don’t have to take our recommendations in the future. - Thicket's There

"Under The Radar 2009"

Dublin's answer to James Murphy, jack of all musical trades Rob Costello's Sound Of System Breakdown, expanded to a three-piece last year, are set to release their first material to a city already in love with fellow electro multitasker Jape. If 'Vinager Joe' and 'The Secret's Out' - MySpace uploads we've constantly returned to over some two years - are anything to go by, expect something quite ambitious indeed. -

"Jim Carroll's New Music"

Superior electropop beeps and bleeps. - The Ticket (Irish Times)

"Ragged Words Album Review"

What's most refreshing about Dublin's Sounds Of System Breakdown is that they're not out to impress anyone in particular. Their makeup - three lads whose guitars, percussion and electronic bleeps scrap it out for supremacy – would appear to place them in the queue behind the likes of Delphic and Mirrors as the next eighties-devoted, electro crossover contenders that could. But you won't find many militarily-ironed, matching white shirts here. Nor will you come across those perfectly lit, obscurely-cut press shots either. Indeed, stenciled onto mathematical paper, the cover art for the band's self-titled debut gives new depth to the term 'lovingly handmade'. There really is little sheen to Sounds Of System Breakdown and, for the most part, that's kind of great. While certainly accomplished, edges are nevertheless kept as rough as the record’s scissor-cut inlay card to allow a rare, unspoilt charm to shine through.

On the consummately delivered side of things, there are some awfully big tunes on here. Groove-laden opener 'Vinegar Joe', boasting an early bongos appearance, sets the agenda right away before the frantic, fantastically programmed 'Electrolysis and Mood Enhancers' firmly grabs your attention immediately after. Though the two songs are quite different pace- and length-wise, they share a similar message, as Rob Costello's initial plea to not let ‘em grind you down hardens to the killer "Your taxes pay for their axes" line a song later. Further on, the raved-up 'Jaysyehaventacluedoyeh' (it makes more sense read with a hard Dublin accent) reminds this writer of the more banging side fellow guitars-and-mixers enthusiast Richie Egan can exhibit in a live setting, while six-minute closer 'The Secret's Out' sounds just as epic as it did when it first grabbed Ragged Words’ attention some three years ago.

But for all the moments that will put you in the mood for delving into the DFA back catalogue (or even have you reaching for Death From Above 1979's You're a Woman, I'm a Machine LP), a real game-changer arrives in the very different form of 'Love's Only Chemicals'. With minor accompaniment, the album's penultimate track is an unashamed piano ballad. Despite lacking the vocal prowess of, say, a young Tom Waits, Costello shows his songwriting chops on what amounts to a more than pleasant detour. True, the song sticks out a mile, but it’s unlikely many other acts currently vying to make theirs the sound of 2010 would even contemplate such a sudden deviation. It's a bold move, but one that’s pulled off with a loose confidence and winning charm that’s hard not love.

Sounds Of System Breakdown is a winning debut too, from a young band who, while not looking to impress any particular corner of the room, will leave their mark on most that walk through the door.
- Padraic Halpin

"Naomi McArdle Album Review"

Analogies, similes, metaphors, colloquialisms. There’s so much room for maneouvure when writing about music, as much as the musicians have when crafting songs themselves. In this case, Sound of System Breakdown’s self-titled debut album is so strong and alternately vulnerable in just the right places, it deserves a bright yellow suit of words.

To run riot with popculture (because the album’s ideal certainly does, with eleven tracks of lighthearted, fully-realised Indie aspirations, while its feet remain firmly planted in Onitsuka Tigers of electronic dancefloor-smashers)…this is so bad-ass, it’s the Bride, possessing a brand of imagination and natural skill that cannot be bought, only refined by the tools or instruments in hand. It took SoSB a few years of live performance and steady work to perfect the nuances and techniques within its tracks, an almost-hour of silver-steel tunes, and as a result, they sound confident and muscular, hard enough to contend with club classics. Striking out with Vinegar Joe (free download here), it accelerates through temper and tone, hitting peaks of genius from the past twenty years, saluting 80s post-punk, 90s Indie and blurry beats of the decade just gone. Talking Heads and LCD Soundsystem are clearly massive influences, as masters always are. There is homage but not imitation, a difference in the delivery of this semi-electro trio comes in touching vocals and personal rhythm. I found The Band Played one of the most exciting songs, a shape-shifter bounding from hard disco to soft rock, lacking the disciplined form of its ten compatriots and serving the album all the better for some transience. Following on with something completely different lest we forget the band love their gentler moments, Love’s Only Chemicals presents a changeable palate-cleanser, steering SoSB down a refreshed route. Remarkably avoiding the danger zone of repetition usually too apparent in electrobeats, it’s a DJ dream, impossible to stay still to and it clearly holds a great deal of remix potential.
Yeah, this album’s sharp, a weapon that deserves to be used as a samurai sword on the asses of bands who rush out to record too soon. The wait paid off for Sounds of System Breakdown. They’ve punched through. - Naomi McArdle

"Hotpress Album Review-Feb 2010"

Sounds Of System Breakdown may prove to be one of this year's surprise packets. Striding confidently into the same territory as the likes of James Murphy's LCD Soundsystem, and influenced variously by Talking Heads, Blur, Daft Punk, Hot Chip and Soulwax, the Dublin outfit's eponymous debut album is nothing less than a meticulously-assembled master-class in electro post punk. On this evidence, originator and mainman Rob Costello may well have cracked it. Right from the outset SOSB make a supremely impressive noise, all dramatic synth riffs, ballsy guitars and impressive shuffling funky rhythms. Rather than canceling each other out, the organic and the electronic co-exist here with an ease that amounts to virtuosity. The monumental "Vinegar Joe" is superb, almost six minutes of powerful electro rock that wouldn't sound out of place on the main stage at Oxegen. Nor are they afraid to be ambitious. There are chanted vocals, trancey instrumental interludes and layers of synth colourings aplenty. But at the heart of it all is a highly evolved feel for the big beat, allied with melodies that insinuate themselves into the cerebral cortex and arrangements that add up to much more than the sum of their parts. "Check The Balance" is superb, and on the brilliantly constructed "Devil's Son" the three-piece sound like the rightful heirs-apparent to New Order. Few Irish bands have emerged with a sound as fully formed as this and with as obvious a command of the structures of contemporary rock. What's more, they are operating in a zone where the hits are happening. Impressive stuff. - Hotpress "Electro Newcomers make impressive bid for greatness"

" Album Review-March 2010"

It must be hard to be an electro act right now. The initial surge in popularity seems to be subsiding, and the scene is undeniably inundated. Everything from the diabolically cheesy mainstream (Owl City) to the trendy Stateside starlets (MGMT) seems to have found a popular niche, and it’s only a matter of time before the ever-morphing music industry swings away again. Sounds Of System Breakdown, though, might just have muscled their way in just on time.

In the main, their style is a slightly ’80s pop one, an almost robotic, shape-throwing take on electro that’s littered with abrupt, bleepy beats and distant yet distinctive vocals. Opening track ‘Vinegar Joe’ and follow up ‘Electrolysis And Mood Enhancers’ explore the band’s ‘made this one my PC last night’ tendencies: they’re pointedly simple structures, yet driven and instantly compelling. Both stick in the head with a painful level of addictiveness, but from the opening two tracks onwards it’s a case of ever more complex and life-enhancing arrangements. Sounds Of System Breakdown are still better at their more subtle, slowly building the brain-bashing melodies though tracks like ‘10 Pack Of Johnny Blue’ and ‘Jaysyehaventacluedoyah’. Later efforts like ‘Underneath The Floorboards’ have an air of the instant classic to them, adopting heavily layered sounds that sweep away the brasher early offerings and drift into clever, bass-ridden electro-pop territory.

Sounds of System Breakdown seem to have the charms of marketing down, too. This particular offering was delivered to State in the form of a hand-made promo, the cover spattered with suitably mechanical modern art. In truth, though, it’s not the playful cover or brain-assaulting electro that make these Dubliners ones to watch, but their ability to contrast those sounds with the odd far more delicate acoustic track. State were surprised to learn that the three-piece occasionally perform entirely unplugged sets (there’s little here to give us any clue how they would expand that beyond perhaps two tracks), but on their one laid-bare effort here – ‘Love’s Only Chemicals’ – they truly excel.

The second-to-last track is an out of place yet outstanding acoustic effort, a downbeat and hair-raising exploration of love that seems to expand to fill a room during the chorus, edging into tearjerker territory. It’s simplistic to the point of naïve, but that only adds to the all-round appeal of one of the best ‘unsigned’ albums State’s ever been lucky enough to hear. It’s hard not to get overexcited about such an enticing prospect flitting around our own backyard: if the record’s anything to go by, Sounds Of System Breakdown are potential stars. -

"kDamo Album Launch Gig Review"

Festival bookers take note. This was clearly a gig by a band who have played everywhere imaginable in the last couple of years and their hard slog in the muddiest of fields has paid off. Not to dwell on the similarities to Jape, but during Sounds of System Breakdown’s set at their album launch in The Village on Saturday, I kept remembering Richie’s afternoon set in the Red Bull tent at Oxegen last year. These guys could easily do a similar job this summer with an ability to please such a wide variety of audiences with their clever, powerful riffs and wry lyrics layered over unstoppably danceable beats. This weekend they belted through the songs from their self-titled debut album in a set that sounded impeccable and made me forget why I didn’t like the place as a venue. The packed house seemed to love it and with a free copy of the album included in their €8 admission, why wouldn’t they? Expect the album and the band to pop up more and more as the year goes on. - kDamo


Mayfly (single) - Released January 2013

Colour (EP) - Released 10th June 2011

Sounds of System Breakdown (Album) - Released 31st January 2010



Sounds Of System Breakdown will release Nomad, the followup to their critically acclaimed self-titled debut album in early 2013. The Dublin three-piece’s debut album was favourably compared to LCD Soundsystem, Talking Heads, Soulwax and Depeche Mode. It was described as “superior electropop beeps and bleeps” (Jim Carroll, Irish Times) and “a meticulously-assembled master-class in electro post punk” (Hot Press).

Nomad will see the band (Rob Costello, Richy Kelly and Ed Costello) further forge their own sound away from those influences into a soundscape all their own.

2013 will see Sounds Of System Breakdown reach the next level with a release that will make good on the promise of their recent Colour EP. Nomad further blurs their sound between dance culture and guitar dynamics, creating an intoxicating, all-encompassing album. This new sound was debuted to audiences at Irish summer festivals in 2012 concluding in a celebratory appearance at Electric Picnic.

The saying goes that absence makes the heart grow fonder and with SOSB members lived in both London and Dublin, they made the most of their time together with intensely creative and more musically rewarding sessions than before.

Time spent developing their musical talents independently of each other in the last year has enabled them to see things from a different perspective. They regrouped to record “on the side of a mountain” on Sheep's Head in West Cork last April, to create the live set they debuted at festivals over summer that would eventually become Nomad.

The title comes from the band’s state of flux making the record. “A lot of the tracks were written on planes, trains and boats and the themes of moving and placelessness feature,” says Rob Costello.

Producer Rob Kirwan, who has produced, mixed or engineered albums for U2, PJ Harvey, Soulwax, The Horrors and Editors was drafted in to co-produce the album in Grouse Lodge, Co. Westmeath and Rob’s Exchequer Studio in Dublin so the band could concentrate on the music and leave the technical details aside. Nomad is the extremely pleasing result.

“We've have more fun in the studio and on stage in the last year than ever before and we think that enjoyment shines through on Nomad.”.