Where Buildings Fall at the Grand Social – Review
The newly renamed Where Buildings Fall played the first Dublin gig under their new moniker in the beautiful fairy light-strew surroundings of The Grand Social loft venue on Saturday night. The band, who previously went under the name TouchWood, have been absent from the Irish music scene for a while but with a new name, new single, and new album on the way, it’s all systems go for the Dublin/Wexford outfit. Cork synth rock trio Toy Soldier opened proceedings with an excellent set in support of their new Breathe EP. Singer Fionnuala Curran’s vocals and stage presence have a genuine pop star appeal and guitarist Cian Walsh showcases some awesome guitar riffs. Having recently taken top billing in this venue with tonight’s headliners playing support, this evening the roles are reversed. A short but sweet set that definitely warrants further listening.
Where Buildings Fall take to the stage opening with a brand new acoustic guitar led number followed by some of the more familiar material from their only release thus far, the Elysian Plains EP. Tonight signals something of a rebirth for the now 4 piece band. Along with their new name, a selection of new songs get an airing and the setlist places an emphasis on the new material, as the band dispense with all 4 of their EP tracks in the first 5 songs. ‘Day By Day’ has a dreamy chilled out quality, perfect for a lazy summer afternoon, whilst the soaring ‘Twice Shy’ is the most stadium friendly moment in their armoury. ‘Elysian Plains’ is a great pop-rock single, like Muse’s ‘Starlight’ or Coldplay’s ‘Charlie Brown’ it’s the type of song you would hear in the background of sky sports football coverage as they show the latest Premier League standings. Having previously played several shows without a bassist, tonight the band make use of backing tracks which results in a much fuller live sound. An old fashioned analog television also makes an unusual but effective stage prop, the type of which was last seen on Coldplay’s Viva La Vida world tour.
At times during the set, the sequencing of songs can be overly mid-paced, and the absence of the bands grittier material is felt (such as the rockier live favourite ‘Feel’). Forthcoming single ‘A Million Miles’ gets a live airing, a slowly building pop rock number which sounds primed for daytime radio. Frontman Sam Ali’s voice is strong as always and guitarist Mark Caplice’s backing vocals are note-perfect all night, resulting in some excellent harmonies which add a particularly epic sweep to many of tonight’s songs. Closing the show with one of their finest moments, ‘Count The Stars’ is a Coldplay-worthy ballad that tugs on the heart strings in the same way as The Fray’s classic ‘How to Save a Life’. It sounds custom made for soundtracking the more emotional moments of Grey’s Anatomy.
At times, tonight, Where Buildings Fall sound like a truly international band. Whilst they are unlikely to appeal to broadsheet music critics, sonically-similar bands such as Coldplay, Snow Patrol, and Embrace were never really afforded much love from the press either. There’s no rock n’ roll posturing to be found here, just an emphasis on richly melodic and soulful music. Tonight’s set shows a glimpse of just how good their forthcoming debut album could be.
Review by Gary O’Donnell