Checkpoint are a young Dublin punk band that mostly take their cue from the punk music of the late seventies and early eighties.
They’ve released two EPs, Unauthorised Breakthru (2012) and From City Streets (2013) and this year sees them make their first trip over to the UK where they play the New Band stage at Rebellion.
Formed by lead vocalist/guitarist Sean Dunne and bassist Matt Gillanders over four years ago, the current line up was completed with the addition of Ryan Dean (Guitar) and Ali Greene McEnerney (Drums) in 2011.
Having amassed a loyal following playing a wealth of underage gigs over the last couple of years, the band, who have all turned eighteen are now making the transition from all ages gigs to playing in clubs.
Bassist Matt Gillanders said “at first it was weird because we were used to people our own age who were into punk…it was a weird step up, and we’ve kinda grown into it now…it was intimidating definitely, at the start”.
Having tested themselves in a more mature live setting, the band recently opted for two launches of their new EP, From City Streets – one at an all ages gig, and one in well known Dublin music venue and watering hole Sweeney’s Mongrel. Instead of being greeted with scorn or scepticism, the savvy Dublin punk audience embraced the young band; “the atmosphere was amazing, everyone loved it. People we’ve never seen at gigs were there to check us out, and buy the EP.”
When quizzed on how a young band from Dublin became influenced by acts such The Ruts, The Skids and Stiff Little Fingers, Matt said, “some of the people that come to our gigs maybe started on bands like Green Day and moved back but me and the singer Seán grow up with punk, borrowing vinyls from our parents, the Clash and the Sex Pistols etc.”
As the band complete their secondary school education and focus on the future, everything the four young members commit to will revolve around the band, “We are 100% committed to staying in Dublin, and seeing where it goes, cause we’ve put a lot of work into it every day for 4 years and we’re looking for a good outcome, hopefully!”
Testimony to their commitment, new EP From City Streets sounds like all their hard work has paid off. Having self released their first EP, the second is on well known Irish punk label FOAD Musick.
Opener Don’t Give In kicks off with confident swagger, solid guitars and an instantly memorable melody, replete with an infectious sing a long hook that remains with you after one listen. The production is solid giving an effective framework for the band to showcase their confidence as musicians and to impress with their ability. This is most effective on second track Driven You Dead a catchy melodic punk song which showcase Dunne’s extremely competent vocal. The delivery on this track betrays their young years and you can see why audiences of all ages would adopt them as their own.
They may take influence predominantly from another era, but their sound is fresh and contemporary. Their playing too demonstrates a wider palette than punk rock, incorporating stylistic nuances that Josh Homme might appreciate. The percussive lift off of third track Fight your Fear is complimented by rhythmic bass lines, and guitar lead closer Over Now demonstrates an astute lyrical social/political awareness. The band do not allow any genre criteria to limit their output and show an openness to trying whatever works with some nicely placed harmonica on Over which enhances the guitar reverberations.
The band have a clearly defined sound, and there is no discernible difference between the quality on display here and bands who have grown up on a similar diet and managed to go on to great things. If they continue to work as hard, and have a bit of good old fashioned luck, who knows what could be next for this young outfit.