Appropriately for a band hailing from Stroke City, Derry’s The Clameens are indie, from their jangly good time rock n roll influences (Arctic Monkeys, The Libertines and, naturally enough, Julian Casablancas’ boys) to their skinny jeans and denim jacket combo stage attire. Hell, they’re even signed to 25 Hour Convenience Store, the record label run by Lib’s drummer Gary Powell. With shout outs and airplay from MTV, BBC and RTE, as well as sharing festival stages with some big names (including hometown heroes The Undertones), the hype surrounding The Clameens is very real indeed. But will they be the next Arctic Monkeys? Or the next Pigeon Detectives?
New EP ‘Techno’ is the best indicator we have. If nothing else, it should win the award for most misleading title of the year, as the four songs within are staunchly rooted in classic indie rock guitar, bass and drums. Kicking things off with the title track, Colum Doyle’s bouncy bass intro is shortly joined by singer Sean Breslin’s tale of a fascination with a girl who ‘has techno on the brain.’ Breslin possesses a fine, emotive warble, somewhere in between The La’s Lee Mavers, Fergal Sharkey and a young Caleb Followill, meaning the puppy love detailed in the track faintly recalls the more tender moments of the aforementioned singers’ bands (think There She Goes, Wednesday Week and Milk), albeit with a slicker, more modern indie sound courtesy of Ethan Diver’s melodic guitar lines.
Next song ‘What’s the Difference?’ opens with the harmonized refrain “Oh take your time/ Oh running wild”, betraying the influence of indie-poppers Bastille, leading into a jaunty riff straight from the 1975 textbook (it sounds nothing like Love Me though, don’t worry). With a distinctly summery vibe, the tune seems tailor made for festivals, cider ads and the Radio 1 playlist, and will be hard to escape from come summer 2016.
‘Honesty and Bliss’ has angular guitars that sound closer The Strokes or Franz Ferdinand than any other track on the EP. Featuring a massive, stadium ready sing-along chorus featuring call and response vocals from Breslin and the band, this ode to simpler times is the EP’s most out and out rock n roll moment and will be a set highlight for years to come, with crowds sure to belt every word back at the lads.
Wisely leaving the best till last, ‘Routine’ is the standout moment of the release. A disenchanted look at ‘pushing 25 with nothing to show for it’, the sarcastic chorus of “Living a normal normal life” pinpoints every youth’s disillusionment with the prospect of either working shit hours in a job they hate or going on the dole. Like their heroes before them, from AM to Oasis and even The Jam, The Clameens seem to suggest that rock n roll is the one way out of normality, and legions of new fans will no doubt agree.
So what will become of these likely lads? It’s hard to say: this reviewer would like to see if Gary Powell still has Mick Jones’s phone number, to see if the Clash man could once again sit in the producer’s chair and add some ‘Up the Bracket’ grit to help the Derry lads stand out from their swarms of mod-look competitors. But given their industry connections, and the huge success fellow Oak Leafer SOAK, the boys should feel confident, and with the Radio 2 snooze fest that was the Libertines’ new record, the time for heroes has never been greater.