Bouts at The Academy (review)
Dublin based indie band, Bouts have been locked away since the beginning of this year to work on their upcoming album, scheduled to be released this September. Needless to say, it was a surprise for both us and the band themselves that they opened for legendary Smiths guitarist, Johnny Marr, at his Academy gig on March 27th. The band’s exile from the live scene was meant to continue until later this spring, when they hit the stage at the Meteor Camden Crawl, yet a chance to open for a guitar virtuoso like Marr is not one to be turned down.
As they take to the stage to play to a packed out floor at Dublin’s The Academy, it’s evident that this gig is a last minute surprise for the foursome. With lyrics taped to the floor, frontman Barry Bracken, approaches the microphone with a little reservation. However, only a minute into their first track and Bouts have the crowd won over with their alt-rock sound. Bracken’s voice is reminiscent of The Postal Service’s Ben Gibbard, cutting but delicate where the songs call for it.
Excessively long pauses during songs result in aimless whistling and disinterest from the crowd, and Bouts fight to win the attention back. A heavy drop of what Bouts themselves refer to as their “guitar loudness” sound, succeeds in regaining active attention from a relatively tough crowd. Minor errors in key take from an otherwise impressive collection of songs and chanting vocals enthrall during their track’s breakdowns.
Bracken, throughout the set, loses his inhibitions, getting completely lost in the songs and proving his love for live music. Despite the minor key issues and pauses, Bouts final song, Get Sick, leaves you with no doubts that this is a band destined to go further. There is no doubting their musical ability with incredibly catchy vocals and brash guitar fueled sound.
With the backing of BBC 6 Music DJ, Lauren Laverne and the success of their debut EP last year, Bouts forthcoming album is highly anticipated within the Irish Indie scene and rightly so. With more live gig experience under their belt, Bouts will be a force to be reckoned with.
Review by Laur Ryan