Northern Ireland has never been short of protest musicians over the years, from fiery punk outfits to lamenting folk troubadours. CATALAN!, the protest punk project and alias of Ewen Friars, is a fine addition to this thriving subculture. Taken from his freshly-pressed LP Veritas (meaning truth in Latin), ‘Ungoogleable’ treads the line between punk fury and melodic indie rock, a tongue-in-cheek social commentary barked in a local accent.
Gentle finger plucking bookends the track, with the body erupting into fizzy guitars and driving groove. ‘Ungoogleable’ explores how the internet pervades every aspect of modern life and the effect of witnessing chaos and tragedy every day on social media. The track namechecks Twitter, James Cook, Korean tea and even the John Lewis Christmas ad; it laments our “scroll hole history” and “buying habit mystery”, as well as the selfies posted to “dictate your worth”. This chorus was written to be chanted back at Friars by a frenzied crowd in a sweaty venue.
The cutting lyrical content of ‘Ungoogleable’ almost seems at odds with its danceable undertones, but the true magic of CATALAN! lies in combining the two.