The Gandhis
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The Gandhis

Dublin, Leinster, Ireland | INDIE

Dublin, Leinster, Ireland | INDIE
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Words: Liam Leavy

The Gandhis draw from an indie rock spectrum that contains The Libertines, Space, The Coral and blues-soul-punk-pop The Zutons. Cosmic Scouse the NME called it. I know listing is lazy journalism, but it's my first gig. Their debut album “You Are My Friend” consistantly showcases the band's dynamic songwriting and penchant for weird, sprawling pop.

"You Are My Friend” is The Libertines in all but name. In fact not until the rasping throwdown chorus “Yoooou arree my friiieend” is this writer fully convinced it's not Barat. This would sit comfortably alongside anything in the Doherty / Barat canon. “Don’t you want me to be loved by me” a conventional guitar pop song that lyrically draws from one of two domains for a slur of songs on “You Are My Friend.” Songs about past exploits with women or songs that lament the joys of lad culture.

And then there's "Mr Data." A song that vehemently nails to the mast this band's love for the Star Trek mainstay, the android Data. In theory this sounds awful and I was left scratching my head a few times after the first few listens but it is a grower and does seem to work, even with the line “Mr Data.... Good man yourself.”

The other curve ball on this fruitful and ambitious debut effort is the garage stomper "Elephant man," which seems to chronicle the life of the legendary Mary Harney looklalike from Victorian times, John Merrick, the Elephant Man. Its bizarre psych-pop that wouldn’t look out of place on a 60's Nugget compilation and I imagine it would sound even better live and is sure to draw comaprisons to fellow “Cosmic Scouse” rockers (to borrow NME branding) The Coral, The Zutons and Space.

“Goodbye Cruel Appendix” is a nod to Space’s Britpop effort, 'Neighbourhood.' Likewise, Elephant Man is very similar to numerous cuts by The Coral, and there are a plethora of similarities with Swamp-funk-soul-blues-rockers, “The Zutons”. But with even closer inspection one can draw similarities to northern soul and ska revivalists, Dexys Midnight Runners and The Beat, respectively. The rasping soul tinged vocals draw comparisons to Dave Mccabe (Zutons), Joe Cocker, Kevin Rowland (Dexy) and indeed the aforementioned Carl Barat.

All four of the lads (Niall Cullen, Conor Deasy, Aidan McKelvey and Bazz O'Reilly) are listed as vocalists, which this reviewer could not differentiate who was who vocally. Sorry lads! But given it has taken me 28 years to distinguish between Lennon, McCarthy and Harrison on songs, then I think I can be forgiven, particularly without having seen The Gandhis live. I imagine their live show is an experience to behold and is high on my priority list for 2010. There's enough raw emotion and fun-lovin-bluesy-soul-pop that’s sure to get the juices flowing. These four lads from Lucan sound like they know how to throw a party and "Put a banging donk on it” as the kids might say.

As I said before with the exception of one or two bizarre references, lyrically the Gandhis mine from two of life's great woes, women, and having the craic with the lads, lad culture. “Twenty 2” sounds like the best song the Style Council never recorded and gives us a clue as to what these guys are capable of. A truly brilliant pop-soul song and another live stomper I imagine.

This is followed by “Primrose Lane” which really is an ode to lad culture / binge drinking. "It seems like no length at all since we were getting cans on special.... smoking spiffs in the sun at the bottom of Primrose lane.” Sang with enough conviction to make me cry and wish I was still 16 hiding in a ditch drinking stale warm beer and trying my damnest not to get sick or piss myself in front of the rest of the lads. Or maybe thats just me.

“Zaza” is next in line on this gem laden album. A 2 Tone / ska-soul knees-up that wouldn’t look out of place on a Madness, Dexy, The Beat singles collection. All things considered this is a fine debut. These four lads from Lucan haven’t or don’t set out to reinvent music. Instead mining from familiar distinctly British styes of northern soul, 2-tone, 60s British Invasion and more recently the familiar ringings of The Zuton’s bluesy swamp-funk or the The Libertines early 00’s powerpop / garage rock revival. Lots of loose, slinking drums and choppy guitars with spicy flourishes of sax and minimal synth. Production is never superfluous and in general to be commended. A quality Ian Broudie production in all but name.

The closer "Guy Like Me" sums these lads up. They don’t take life too seriously and this mantra shines through on their music, Life is for living. “A guy like me don’t need to tie his lace / I come home at 6 am / got no military stance / got a great big hole in my pants”. Women and friends will come and go but there's no point getting too down about it and you might as well have fun along the way. Viva fecklessness, that’s the message.

A sprite and ambitious effort that’s a hell of a lot of fun along the way and hints at wha - scruffdaddy.ie




By Chris Wasser

Monday April 26 2010

"Smoking spliffs in the sun", eh? I can't say your parents would be too proud of that one, lads. Still, they'll at least be glad to know that their sons grew up to be a talented bunch of musicians. In fact, when The Gandhis put their heads together, they produce some of the catchiest pop tunes you're likely to hear all year.

Having released their long-awaited debut album, You Are My Friend, in October 2009, the Dublin-based foursome launched their new single, Primrose Lane, with a stomping, hour-long performance in the Village on Saturday night; a small yet considerably loud affair that will surely act as the next step in their quest to become a respected household name.

And why the hell not? After all, it's nice to appreciate a simple yet immediately infectious melody once in a while -- something that you can sing along to as if you've known it all your life. Throw in a neat brass section, some wonderfully arranged harmonies, and a collection of delightfully sunny guitar riffs, and you have one of the most enjoyable Irish pop acts currently doing the rounds.

Indeed, much of The Gandhis' instantaneous appeal can be found in the twin vocals of front men Aidan McKelvey and Conor Deasy (no, not your man from The Thrills). The edgier yang to his band mate's otherwise timid yin, McKelvey's delivery often pushes the group's sound into a more soulful direction, complete with hilarious yet surprisingly charming falsetto. It may take a while for the guys to loosen up and start enjoying themselves on stage, but the music (kicking off with the head-bopping Don't You Want To Be Loved By Me?) speaks for itself.

Fun, snappy, and almost always danceable, what The Gandhis have to offer material-wise tends to slip into your brain and take up a permanent residency. Primrose Lane -- in which Deasy remembers the youthful joys of drinking cheap cans and, uh, smoking on a summer's day -- displays a straightforward yet melodically pleasing approach to song writing. A soaring slice of blues-coated-indie, Motown Lowdown makes excellent use of the accompanying saxophone and trumpet players, while Zaza is perhaps the band's number one go-to tune when it comes to getting a crowd going.

"Stop talking and dance!" shouts McKelvey, before launching into the song's signature "woo-hoo" chant. Indeed, it's perhaps the only flaw that I can think of, too -- that some sections of the audience continued to engage in noisy conversation while an excellent and intelligent display of guitar-sprinkled-pop was happening right in front of them. Thankfully, this wasn't about to affect the group's performance. Keep it up.

- Chris Wasser

- Independent Newspapers (Ireland) Ltd


Discography

Zaza (single)- Feb 2008 - Regular airplay on Galway's I102.
Don't you Want To Be Loved By Me? (single) - Nov 2008 regular airplay on Phantom Fm, Today Fm. Video aired on Channel 6's Nightshift on rotation. Also played on RTE's "the Cafe"
Guy Like Me (single)- April 2009 - Broad national airplay in Ireland. Video aired on Channel 6's nightshift and later on RTE's "Under Ether" and played live on Saturday Night with Miriam on RTE.
LP You Are My Friend - Oct 2009 - Numerous tracks recorded live for airplay on Sean Rocks' show "Arena"
Primrose Lane single - Airplay on Phantom Fm, Newstalk, Raidio na Life. Video played on Dave Fanning's "Eleventh Hour" on RTE.
Hunting single - Nov 2011 - Continuous airplay on major irish stations including RTE 1 and 2, Today FM and Phantom FM
LP After Autumn - Mar 2012 - 6 tracks so far being aired on National and Regional radio in Ireland as well as regular play on CBC Radio Canada.

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Bio

The band formed as a hobby in college and progressed to becoming the full-time tilt after travelling and working had been tried, tested and refuted. The Gandhis are a Dublin based band but have toured the country several times with the release of 4 singles after being signed by small Indie label 1969 records on the back of the 1st single.

Along with gigs around Ireland as well as a week of shows in the south of France, The Gandhis have made television appearances on RTE's "Saturday Night With Miriam" and "The Café" as well as securing support slots with such acts as Electric 6, Richmond Fontaine, Declan O'Rourke, Republic of Loose, Mundy, Villagers and Fight Like Apes.

Their debut album "You Are My Friend" was released to a sold out show in Dublin's famous Whelans as well as a Tower Records instore performance to glowing media reviews.

The following album After Autumn was release in March of 2012 to a glowing media reception suitably arriving shortly after their slot on the Crawdaddy stage of Electric Picnic and supports with Portland's Richmond Fonatine and Declan O'Rourke on their Irish tour leg. The band are currently promoting the album and after two single releases so far have been tipped in the press for album of the year.