Little Green Cars perform 'John Wayne' for BalconyTV London
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LITTLE GREEN CARS - JOHN WAYNE (acoustic)
PRESENTED BY LOUISE
The hottest thing to come out of Dublin. Signed with the famous Glassnote Records.
The lineup: Stevie Appleby (vocals, guitar), Faye O'Rourke (vocals, guitar), Donagh Seaver O'Leary (bass, vocals), Adam O'Regan (guitar, vocals), Dylan Lynch (drums, vocals)
Little Green Cars are an Irish country-rock band, but they're better than that sounds, less in hock to cliche, mired in sentimentality and easy tropes. They released their debut single, The John Wayne, in July on the Young and Lost Club label, but are reissuing it this month now that they have a deal with Island in the UK and Glassnote, the US home of Mumford & Sons and Two Door Cinema Club. They could be really successful, but success of what kind we're not sure. Listening to their debut album Absolute Zero -- produced (at his request, apparently) by Markus Dravs, who has worked with Björk, Arcade Fire and, most recently, with Mumford & Sons on their latest album Babel -- we can't tell if they're being primed as a mainstream UK version of the Dixie Chicks or as an alt-country thing: there are tracks on Absolute Zero that have more in common with Band of Horses, that are more Brooklyn than Nashville or Texas.
The boy-girl harmonies work, and the rousing melodies are in constant supply. Harper Lee, the opening track on the album, due next year, posits the band, still only teenagers, as a latterday Mamas and the Papas (or a more accomplished Magic Numbers), with a lyric ("Like a crash I wait for the impact") that is probably about love but could easily apply to their imminent breakthrough. Angel Owl begins unimpressively before erupting, a cloudburst of harmonies enveloping Stevie Appleby's voice. On his own, on Consequences, Appleby can sound as much like Neil Young as he does Neil from the Young Ones, like a dippy cipher. But full marks to Dravs for bolstering the singer and turning it into a lush drama. River Song is a showcase for Faye O'Rourke and suddenly the band come over all Florence, only with an a cappella flourish for the coda before things get too bombastic.
They're not afraid to stretch out and mess with the formula. Red and Blue is strikingly different: with its Auto-Tuned male voice intoning mournfully over a churchy organ motif, it's actually closer to the Weeknd than Neil's Out on the Weekend. Some of the tracks offer a more reined-in version of that Mercury Rev/Band of Horses brand of cosmic country. Kitchen Floor makes a virtue of its traditional, old-fashioned elements -- notably, the unison male-female vocals and plaintive folk-ish melody -- and by the time the single The John Wayne kicks in with its handclaps, chugging rhythm and story about a boy failing to charm an American teen by being refused entry to a nightclub (so specific it had to be true -- it happened to Appleby), you're sold by the idea of Little Green Cars.
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