We Cut Corners at The Workman’s Club – Review

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We Cut Corners played The Workman’s Club last Friday, 29th November.

In the years since their debut album, “Today I Realised I Could Go Home Backwards”, We Cut Corners have cemented their status among Dublin’s indie rock scene as effortlessly excellent musicians, songwriters and showmen. Having recently performed a string of dates in the States, their first Dublin gig since a low-key charity event during the summer was to a plentiful and jubilant Workman’s crowd – an often subdued venue, but absolutely hopping on the night.

The evening was ably opened by a strong set of Slow Skies’ wonderfully atmospheric brand of folk-pop. In another venue, on another night of the week, they might have stolen the show, but Karen Sheridan’s Julia Stone-reminiscent vocals regrettably struggled to overcome the inevitable Friday night chatter. Their four EP’s, available on Bandcamp, are excellent part-ambient/part-pop collections of tracks, and certainly worth a listen.

Just after ten, We Cut Corners take the stage, and rip through a couple of new additions to the set, before the mob warm their voices on ‘Toll Free’. With album number two recently recorded, one would expect a strong showing from it, and they deliver with eight fantastic new songs pieced around the set, ‘Just For Men’ and ‘This Is Them’ being the stand-outs. The new tracks generally don’t stray too far from the patented We Cut Corners sound, but push some envelopes here and there with some experimental touches. ‘Wallflowers’ has Conall up front with an acoustic guitar, with John switching to light percussion, while another new track has Conall playing keys with one hand and continuing to drum with the other. If the live versions of these tracks are anything to go by, their eagerly upcoming album promises very much to be a worthy successor to their 2011 debut.

As with any We Cut Corners show, the raw Talking Heads-influenced rock is peppered with quieter numbers for which the crowd thankfully affords them the silence that opening act Slow Skies weren’t. John’s jagged strumming is replaced by delicate fingerpicking, and Conall steps out from behind the kit to caress the mic in centre stage. Their classic, “Pirate’s Life”, illicit the greatest response, with “Dumb Blonde” a close second, and Conall’s emotively cuts through the bar in a way that few voices manage.

Throughout their set, the crowd teeters on the edge of wildness, which we reach with the last two members of the main body of the set – firstly ‘YKK’, their superb new single and finishing with a ferocious rendition of ‘The Leopard’. As an encore, we’re treated to the aforementioned acoustic tune ‘Wallflowers’ before the thrashy climax of ‘Go Easy’ sends us gleefully into the night after another extremely impressive set.

An excellent night’s work from a band on top of their game. The only negative in the night’s stirring performance is simply the length. Their style of music is raucous rock interspersed with segments of softer clean tones, all condensed into tight, three-minute slices. As a result, their seventeen-song setlist amounts to only an hour and change, and we’re left wishing another three or four tracks would come our way.

 Review by Conor Cosgrave



Lucy Ivan

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