IYMAs - Volume 3: Girls & Boys

As this is my first review, I think I I'll give an album close to my heart some publicity, so to speak. This is an album recorded by the Irish Youth Music Awards (IYMAs) of some of the best unsigned local bands and solo artists in Ireland (3 of which I'm acquainted with) so you can see why I'll start with this one. It's available on iTunes for a tenner (link below).
1. "Keep You Alive" - Bebop & Rocksteady
2. "We're Not Dating (That's Disgusting)" - I Call Shotgun
3. "Last Call" - Small Town Heros
4. "Too Old" - Seán Murphy
5. "Old Friend" - Bebop & Rocksteady
6. "I'm On The Run" - Shooting Saturn
7. "Sophisticated Boom" - Small Town Heros
8. "Only Human" - Seán Murphy
9. "Memoirs of a Pen" - Mex
10. "Conviction" - Bebop & Rocksteady
11. "Babes Alright" - Persistence
12. "The Third Rail" - Dave Skinner
13. "Come With Me" - Rachel Lehane
14. "The End" - Eoghan, Stacy and Shannon
15. "I Don't Miss You At All" - I Call Shotgun

As you can see, there is quite a few different artists here, all of whom you can be sure to find on Facebook or Myspace if you search. This review will go artist by artist.

Bebop And Rocksteady
With three tracks on the album, more than any other artist, these guys were obviously valued high and for good reason. The track "Conviction" is a groovy, grungy, bluesy piece with an absolutley ass-clenching guitar solo towards the end, a perfect way of show-casing the band's potential. "Old Friend" is a beautifully crafted bit of tuneage. There's something about this song that makes me feel nostalgic although I can't quite place my finger on it. "Old Friend" isn't too dissimilar to final song by Bebop here and also their recently released single, "Keep You Alive" which, I must say, features a jem of bass solo. Just sayin'. Combine all three of these tracks and the only words to describe Bebop & Rocksteady's sound are whiskey-soaked and bluesy. But in a good way!

Dave Skinner
"The Third Rail" is a funky instrumental with, what I can only describe as a driving bass line behind it. This piece is great with some great riffage on the axe but I find it to be a tad repetative. However, anyone who has an appreciation for some nice guitar riffs will have an appreciation for this.

Eoghan, Stacy and Shannon
Now, while I might feel that the band name (if it is a band name) isn't fantastic, the song "The End", is. Well, mostly. Is a beautiful song and beautiful vocals although I do feel kind of let down by the male vocals throughout most of it. The lyrics are gorgeous and the song is a nice little acoustic break from the rest.

I Call Shotgun
After listening to these guys, it's obvious why they've got two songs on the album. "We're Not Dating (That's Disgusting)" is a fantastic song that kinda-sortof reminds me of that song Avril Lavigne did for that new Alice In Wonderland movie. The song's great but I think it could've been better. There's some element of lackluster in the lead vocals, something akin to a confidence issue. The talent is there but the ability to just belt out the song isn't really being put to use. Also, there's a build up towards the final chorus on the snare but when the chorus arrives, we expect something big and awesome from the build up but it just sort of seems to let deflate to the same level as how it was sung previously.
"I Don't Miss You At All" is a more up-beat improvement but the comments on the vocals still stand. Overall however, I Call Shotgun are a cracker of a band.

Tired of the guitars and rock'n'roll? "Memoirs of a Pen" is exactly the break you need. Opening up with some beautiful piano that's kindof Massive Attack-ish, it breaks out into some sick hip hop raps with a nice slick beat alongside it. Now I've never reviewed anything hip-hop, rap and Rnb before, I wouldn't know the first thing about it but the overdubbing is flawless and the female vocals on the chorus and just savage.

"Babes Alright" is an anthem of some kind. Guitar solo? Bitchin. Groovey, funky, dynamic, lyrically clever, inventive...however...it falls short in a good few places. First of all...the vocals. The vocals could certainly do with some work and if I'm not mistaken, he nearly sounds like he's doing a Bob Dylan impression at 1:16 with the tempo slowed down fractionally for no reason. And the drums? The drummer has the time-keeping skills of Ringo star falling down a spiral staircase.

Rachel Lehane
Alright, this is a little more like it! A nice break in the album, acoustic guitar, sing-songwritery stuff. Unnecessary over-use of harmonies and again with the lackluster female vocals. GIRLS!! If you're gonna sing, belt them choons out!

Seán Murphy
Oh I've been looking forward to reviewing this guy. As a friend of mine, forgive me if I come across as biased. Straight up, honest rock'n'roll in "Too Old" which, everytime I hear it, I find myself singing the chorus to myself all day. A beautiful little acoustic break brings some more focus to the lyrics before getting off it's ass and cracking ur nuts with a swift riff-kick. "Only Human" is, at first, your typical singer-songwriter suff but there's a level of uniqueness about it's structure and it really helps to show off the lyric and vocal talent this guy's got.

Shooting Saturn
If "I'm On The Run" was a person, I'd be pointing at them, looking at all the other songs featuring female vocalists and say "This is how it's done." "I'm On The Run" is a fast and clever rock'n'roll piece which has a badass riff throughout and especially at the end the song just gets heavy as tits. 

Small Town Heros
When I first heard this band play live, I was very skeptical. The music was good, the songs were heavy, the lyrics were clever...the vocals were shite. Now, let me explain here a little. I know the lead singer, Matthew, and he always was a good singer. A blues singer. But when he started singer rock tunes, I could only hear something lost in translation but then this album came out and I gotta say, I was nothing short of impressed. "Last Call" just displays a mastery of songwriting way beyond the bands years with a kindof heavy-yey-melencholy feel to it. And finally we've got "Sophisticated Boom". Of every song I have ever heard in my whole life, this song has possibly one of the best main riffs I've ever heard in a rock song. It's funky, it's groovy, it's heavy, it's slick, it's twisted, it's catchy...it's everything.

Overall, this is a great compilation album of up and coming Irish artists of a younger generation.

Song Highlights:
"Too Old"
"Sophisticated Boom"
"Memoirs of a Pen"

Here is the iTunes link, as promised:

Doctor's Rating: 7/10
IYMAs - Volume 3: Girls & Boys - Recommended by the Good Doctor

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