Fair Youth Records
Hazy pop melodies float on feedback-fuelled guitars and rolling basslines in Irish dreampop quartet NewDad’s debut EP Waves.
While musicians have been missing out on gigs during the pandemic, the only way to keep fans happy has been to keep busy online. That’s harder for a new band that’s only just begun building a profile – but NewDad have proved it can be done successfully.
Over the course of a year the Irish newcomers, who met at school in Galway three years ago, have put out a steady drip drip drip of singles – five so far – and recently reached the landmark of a million Spotify streams. They’ve also caught the ear of Steve Lamacq who gave them a session on BBC 6Music just before Christmas.
Now comes Waves, the first EP from Julie Dawson (vocals, rhythm guitar), Sean O’Dowd (lead guitar), Áindle O’Beirn (bass) and Fiachra Parslow (drums). Recorded with producer Chris Ryan over the past few months, it collects two of those previously released singles, along with four new tracks, among them their latest and best-so-far single Slowly.
Evidently favouring single words, indeed single syllables, when it comes to titles, their growing discography began with How, Cry and Blue and has gently extended itself into Swimming and Slowly – and I Don’t Recognise You.
It’s tempting to make comparisons because NewDad have a sound that’s soothingly familiar while remaining distinctively their own; they blend the shoegazey jangle of early Warpaint with the more forceful drive of their west of Ireland predecessors The Cranberries, and cite as influences Pixies and The Cure. In fact, each band member posts a regularly updated Spotify playlist (below).
The Waves EP opens with Drown, setting out their stall with an insistent bassline, jangly guitars and languid vocals: it’s blurry like Goat Girl, gauzy like the Cocteaus, with soaring guitar arpeggios towards the end. I Don’t Recognise You, the song that probably did most to get attention for the band, is another lazy shuffle adorned by guitars, with warm and intimate vocals, while Slowly – the latest single – is the closest they get to an upbeat number, all skittering drums and moody bassline beneath a gentle wave of sustained feedback.
The songs are slight but sum up young love, young life, concisely. “I don’t wanna see you / But I still do,” sings Julie in Slowly. “You’re way over there / And you walk so slowly.” It’s cryptic but it says so much in so few words. That teenage confusion of desire, shame, pride: “When I see you around you just ignore me / And when I call your name you never answer / But when you call mine I act like it’s fine.” You can almost see her blushing.
The trancelike Blue is underpinned by O’Beirn’s rolling bass, which is something of a signature soundj, embellished by pretty guitar and more teenage confusion, expressed in a langurous murmur as if to sing louder would add to the embarrassment. ”While you took your time / You wasted mine / I said I wanted you / You said you felt too blue /And while you were making up your mind / I lost mine.” There’s a whole film in those few lyrics.
The EP ends with the dreamy Waves washing over the listener; the oldest song in their repertoire, it dates back to a time when they rehearsed in a garden shed. Imagine that: a rehearsal. Four people in a room. Together.
Each member of NewDad has put together ever-evolving Spotify playlists of tracks they love and are inspired by:
The band have announced their first tour, set for November later this year. The dates are below:
8th Nov Belfast, Ulster Sports Club
10th Nov Galway, Róisin Dubh
11th Nov Dublin, The Workman’s Club
12th Nov Glasgow, The Poetry Club
14th Nov Manchester, Yes (Basement)
16th Nov Bristol, Louisiana
17th Nov London, The Lexington
21st Nov Margate, Elsewhere
Tickets are available now at newdad.live