The Seratones
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The Seratones

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The best kept secret in music

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The Seratones “Action Figures Sold Separately” EP Review

Things have been quite quiet in the North West since The Revs flooded the airwaves with their punk-pop atonements a few years back. With the main focus on ‘The Next Big Thing’ always emanating from our nations capital, it’s refreshing to hear something new and promising come roaring from the far corner of the country; and that sound comes in the form of Donegal 5-piece The Seratones .

Filling out the line-up are: Damien Mc Glinchey (vocals), Orri Mc Brearty (lead guitar), Shane Mc Brearty (rhythm guitar), Johnny McAuley (bass) and Gerard Doherty (drums). Recalling the brash stomp of Jet’s “Get Born” LP – and that albums unabashed ladishness – with grimy guitar hooks reminiscent of the Arctic Monkeys early demo material, the band also hold a certain affinity with Supergrass’ bouncy havin’-a-laugh mentality. Reading over the tracklisting it’s easy to see that an enjoyment of life and music is top of the group’s priorities: “ Secret Lesbian Lovers”, “Champagne and Wine Gums” and “Chronic Dreams” are just a sample of the eyebrow-raising titles.

To kick proceedings off we get a tale of reckless abandon and fucked-if-I-care boorishness in the shape of “Lock and Load”. Detailing a 24 hour spate of madness, seemingly inspired by the wagging finger of authority, you can almost see the birdie being flicked in the face of the upper echelons of society; a two finger salute to the “do nots”. With a bridge consisting of “I’ve had enough/ taking shit from all of you/ Everyday, you always tell me what to do”, its clear that this particular band of brothers aren’t following anyone’s direction but there own. Mc Glincheys raucous vocals are fittingly accompanied by Orri Mc Breartys carefully executed strums that just beg the listener not to tap their feet.

Following up such a strong opener would seem like tough proposition for most debut acts, but not here; “Self Esteem Machine” sees the band pull every bit of inspiration and worth from themselves and create a full-on, battering ram of a song that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Datsuns album. From the slow burn of the opening bars to the howling chorus, it’s hard to believe this band are just gaining ground as an outfit, so assured is their delivery. Lyrically astute (“Emptiness…Colour-blind/ No Fascinations of any kind”) and with an opening guitar lick to kill for, the song careens towards the middle four like a juggernaut losing brake fluid, until the 3 part encore of “I know what you need/ Self-Esteem Machine”. Its one of those songs, which gets every head nodding, every foot stomping and every clenched fist punching the air.

The cleverly titled “Chronic Dreams” tends towards a more new-folk blueprint akin to the more recent output from northern England from bands such as The Kooks. This track provides a nice juxtaposition to the superseding “From Above”: the former is full of bluesy melody and a dowdy rhythm, plied with bass so deep it can be heard in Mississippi and lyrics that recall a hundred nights out in dingy rock clubs, waking up amongst the detritus of the after party; the latter being a more classic rock affair, full of pained sentiment and whisky-breath introspection.

Dark and meandering through a mire of kerb-side angst, “Parasite” pulls the meaner side of the band out of the shadows, mixing a raw, emotive pairing of guitars with infectious drum loops. When the bridge comes, with its pounding repetition, it curves the ear-drum into a bitter rendition of “it’s the end of the line for you” during the chorus. It’s testament to the band that they can manufacture such a broad scope in such a short space (the EP itself is 7 tracks long), and returning to their cheeky best with follow up “Champagne and Wine Gums”, a track infamously written by drummer Doherty during a transatlantic flight. Finishing off this debut with “Secret Lesbian Lovers” proves, once again, that for all the dark brooding atmospherics of the mid section, the band can only hold back the mugging for so long before they let loose with a demented tale of possible teenage fantasies fully realised.

Taking their cue from many different niches of the rock genre, The Seratones have accomplished no mean feat in bringing their own particular strokes to a market flooded with imitators. The skill with which they rocket through each track recalls memories of the new-rock explosive of BRMC and The Vines in its thundering pace, but also more lo-fi domestic acts such as Director. Considering also that drummer Doherty is partially disabled (the bands bass drum has the Handicap logo emblazoned on it), using duct tape to secure the right drumstick, its hard to believe that he manages to thoroughly bulldoze through the beats on this piece of work; I dare you to check out the drum solo on “Lock and Load” and not be amazed. - Drop-D.ie by Paul McConnell


Discography

Our debut EP "Action Figures Sold Separately" includes - Lock & Load, Self Esteem Machine, Chronic Dreams, From Above, Parasite, Champagne & Wine Gums and Secret Lesbian Lovers. You can listen to four of these songs at myspace.com/seratones or www.bebo.com/theseratones420

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Bio

We come from Castlefinn in Donegal. We got together 2005 to provide a soundtrack for an Anit-Bullying DVD. We enjoyed playing together so we decided to stick with it and make a go. Since then we released our debut EP "Action Figures Sold Separately". Our influences range from The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix to The Strokes, Kings of Leon and Nirvana. We are four very different people which provides a great mix of ideas when where working on our own stuff, and we posses the best one handed drummer in the land!