ODD MORRIS: Dalston Victoria:
The oddest, or at least most out of the blue, thing about Odd Morris to date is that one of their uncles is a former Colchester United defender (Tony McCarthy a smart, honest, pragmatic player who we always had a lot of time for).
Other than that, what else did we know about them before this gig? Well they share a rehearsal space with The Murder Capital; their gripping gig at London’s Old Blue Last late last year was their first ever outside of Ireland (this is their second). And that there were a couple of tracks online, one of which ‘Lilac Leaves’, had this wonderful rolling drum line, as if the whole song was just strolling along the banks of the River Liffey, casually reflecting on the passing of the seasons. It sounds really good live too.
Tonight they play the Victoria in Dalston, the same venue where I first saw Fontaines DC, the night they were scouted by their label Partisan Records in the Summer of 2018. The night destiny called.
There’s a fair few folk in tonight as well, caught up maybe in the overflowing curiosity around the Dublin Scene and who else might be lurking there.
I get the impression Odd Morris aren’t chancers. Far from it. Their music is too illusive to make them the Next Big Thing. It’s only after about four songs that you realise that they haven’t even really played a chorus. They don’t go in for the obvious; they won’t tell you that you’re a great audience (like Fontaines there’s only sporadic between song communication, mostly saved for some polite, understated thank yous).
But there is a great brooding strength in their music. If you take away the idea of the trad rock song; what you’re left with – when it’s done right – is just poetry, just a story or train of thought to be captured and retold. Just an itch to scratch or a splinter of an idea or image to lance.
It is all quite hard to pin down: are there small shards of Joy Division? A less obvious, less shiny ‘Stories For Boys’ era U2? My friend Nick Holes sites agit-pop C86 outfit McCarthy as a close relative of their music (another McCarthy!) Or with the excellent new single ‘Cold Water’ even Roddy Woomble led Idlewild? Whatever it is, the drums are a powerhouse and the way the guitar loops prettily round and round is just a thing of beauty. It was fascinating tonight.
Gritty and well worked; stylish and committed. Uncle Tony would have been very proud.