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Search Party Animal & True Tides

  • Róisín Dubh Dominick Street Upper Galway, County Galway Ireland (map)
Search Party Animal.jpg

Strange Brew presents
& True Tides
Thursday 24 May
9pm. Free

Even at a time when the boundaries between genres are becoming ever more blurred, Irish quintet Search Party Animal collide an uncompromising hybrid of sounds. Mixing the organic instrumentation and song structures of guitar bands with the innovative production techniques of electronic music and a background in math-rock, they’re somehow both immediately accessible and surprisingly impossible to pigeonhole.

Although they’ve released just two tracks to date - their Faction Records debut ‘Evergreen’ and the follow-up ‘Enemies’ - they’re already making waves in all of the right ways. They built upon an early invitation to play Canadian Music Week when Radio 1’s Phil Taggart premiered ‘Evergreen’, and their undeniable potential was highlighted when they were named in 2FM’s Rising 2018 list.

All still in their late teens and early twenties, Search Party Animal’s unconventional sound has evolved from an unconventional background. The band started out busking, but back home Adam Redmond (vocals, guitars, production) and Ciarán Byrne (guitar) would instead spend their free time recreating the controlled chaos of epic favourites from the back catalogue of As I Watch You From Afar.

Early incarnations of the band played similarly styled music full of unconventional time changes, sprawling structures and intricate details. But as Redmond delved deeper into production, their focus changed. Now you might mention the likes of Foals, The 1975, Everything Everything, Submerse, Catching Flies and Bon Iver in an attempt to define their sound, but such comparisons are broad indicators rather than precise reference points.

“Whatever music comes out sounds like our band because of the way it’s written or the way I write vocal melodies,” explains Redmond. “We don’t want to limit the music to too specific a realm. We find it really interesting to combine indie, math-rock and sample-based music, and we’re still exploring the possibilities of that. If we set a premise for our music to be varied from the beginning, then hopefully it can be accepted for what it is.”

Although it’s still early days, Search Party Animal’s current killer calling card is their new single ‘Get Hitched’. Redmond’s attention-grabbing array of vocal production techniques is the first element of the track to weave its way into your consciousness. Yet more listens yield deeper rewards. An infectious hook demonstrates real songcraft, and the hypnotic grooves almost subsciously pull you further into the production.

“Our music has never really had a groove and I wanted something that was funky, in a weird way. Although,” he clarifies with a laugh, “I really hate funk! Having everyone playing tightly together on the beat was something I was really drawn towards.”

The song’s opening lyrics ‘“Get hitched or die trying” are engagingly cynical, but that black-hearted humour masks an underlying truth.

“Underneath everything we’re all just people trying to marry people. You find someone forever, or you die trying to find someone forever!” Redmond wrote the song early into a new relationship, and was inspired by the idea that being with someone could potentially evolve into life-long commitment. “It's an idea that can be a scary one for people to accept,” he continues. “A lot of those ideas come from wanting to verbalise not wanting something to end. That’s a daunting thought to some, but I don’t think it needs to be.”

As much as Redmond is their central force, Search Party Animal is very much a band effort: “We’re all complete best friends and we’ve grown-up as musicians. As a result, we have a huge amount of understanding between us.” Redmond and Byrne share an almost telepathic connection and their friendship with drummer Jamie Kealy dates back to childhood, while bassist Jack Rudden and keyboardist Dan McIntyre completed the gang in their early teens.

Redmond is effusive in his praise for his bandmates. Kealy is praised for his ability to create live drum patterns from computer programmed beats, while rhythm section partner Rudden is a solid foundation as a musician and a positive force as a personality. Finally, MacIntyre is hailed as the group’s tastemaker and best multi-instrumentalist, who possesses “a great mind for arrangements and how things should be recorded.”

Having previously played festivals including Electric Picnic and Other Voices, Search Party Animal are now preparing for the biggest headline show of their career to date at Whelan’s in Dublin. As the year progresses, they’re also hoping to hit a wider selection of festivals and to release a bigger collection of songs.

By concocting a diverse cocktail of styles, Search Party Animal have hit upon a sound that can inspire a cult-like following that will spread far beyond their origins in the Dublin suburb of Dundrum.

Earlier Event: May 24
Paddy Hanna
Later Event: May 31
Ryan Vail & Anna Mullarkey