Irish Band Of The Week – Rollin’ Empire
This week’s Irish Band of the Week is Rollin’ Empire, a modern Irish blues rock/rock and roll trio formed in 2014. Comprised of Stephen McGurrin (songwriter, vocals and guitar), Callum Condron (songwriter, bass guitar, keyboards) and Thomas Campbell (percussion, vocals), the band began as childhood friends, sharing similar musical interests before going on to form Rollin’ Empire, and have been creating distinctly complex rhythms and melodies ever since.
Interestingly, the band liken themselves to an illegitimate child of The Black Keys and Queens of the Stone Age. Undeniably, their sound is an amalgamation of the bluesy rock that the aforementioned bands are renowned for, but Rollin’ Empire have this delightful grittiness to their sound. Their style also bares the marks of the classic period of rock ‘n’ roll, with their no nonsense approach to belting tunes and a natural sound, aligning them more with Led Zeppelin and The Doors. Arguably, the manifesto of Rollin’ Empire is to bring modern lyrics but with classical, no nonsense rock.
Having released their debut album, Nowhere to Run, at the tail end of 2015 has meant that they have set their 2016 up for some amazing acclaim already. Tracks such as ‘Nothing to Lose’ and ‘Head Over Ground’ have the sort of pulsating, cacophony of sound that earmarks them as a band that are all about organic sound, rather than relying upon technology to create their sound. It’s tracks like these that emphasise the fact that these boys are lifelong friends, and that shines through in their music, their sound never falter. Their determination is palpable, and even on tracks like ‘Bones’ with its acoustic opening, that classic grunge sound is unavoidable.
With this anything but formulaic approach to rock, hopefully 2016 will be the year that Rollin’ Empire can carve out their place in the ever-growing Irish music scene. Think of Rollin’ Empire as the musical equivalent of Leonardo DiCaprio waiting for an Oscar, the brilliance is irrefutable and just on the cusp of greatness.
Listen to Nowhere To Run on Spotify.