Mongrel State – Irish Band of the Week
With Electric Picnic just under a week away it’s only right that this week’s IBOTW are a hotly anticipated band performing on the Body & Soul stage.
Originally performing in 2010 under the less challenging title of Moo, the band have been simultaneously gigging and writing for the past five years. As Moo they released two records – Wanted (2011) and Tall Tales (2013); and their snowballing popularity resulted in several highlights last year, including headlining the Trailer Park Stage at the Electric Picnic, playing at Life Festival, Fortstock, Carlow Arts Festival, and Light Colour Sound to name but a few.
However, as they created music and performed this melodic tapestry, they came to realise that their name did not accurately reflect what they were weaving which ultimately resulted in the name change earlier this year. Their latest album is expected to be their best to date, boasting the Midas touch of Gavin Glass as producer, whilst creating this immensely anticipated album they have been touring far and wide, including the UK, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands and Germany.
Mongrel State have exactly the kind of rag-tag manner and fighting style of a mongrel, making them sure ones to watch out for at EP with strains of rock ‘n’ roll, western, and Latin strains to their sound, they’re basically a melting pot of sound. Hailing from South America, Mediterranean Europe and the West of Ireland, the band have such a mixture of influences and styles that their music is rife with bursts of enthusiasm in a set that is already pulsing with enthusiasm.
Frontman Claudio Mercante has the sort of vocal delivery that harkens back to Johnny Cash’s style of delivery – measured and with a deep timbre that compliments his effortless riffs. The whole aura of the band is to speak of bad times, misfortune, but all with good hearted nature, bringing a little slice of the west to the ever-growing metropolitan that is Ireland. Think Nirvana but situated in an old-fashioned western. It shouldn’t work but it does, and beautifully so.
For a real taster of how this four piece work their sonic palette of Mongrel State, check out their wonderful track ‘Running Fool’ from their album Tall Tales.
Words by Elaine McDonald