In recent weeks we’ve had a steady trickle of exciting new Irish bands, and Dublin’s Mitch are no exception. The four-piece have honed a uniquely edgy indie sound, which jumps between melodic, singalong vocals and raw rockiness – which they describe to us as “a punch in the face but with feeling.”
The Mitch story began in February 2016 when joint songwriters Jack O’Flaherty (vocals and guitars) and Andrew Smyth (bass and backing vocals) teamed up to write the kind of songs they wanted to listen to.
As Jack explains: “We were trying to write really honest, really catchy rock tunes. We came up with a couple of ideas and quickly realised that we had something different, something new and we needed to get a band around it. Enter Keith and James (Farrell and McDonald, guitar and drums). When we found the other lads it was a moment, like this is our gang, this is our music, we all want the same thing to get these songs as good as we can and then throw them at the world. That gave us a lot of drive to go out and work hard at getting our music to as many people as possible.”
Mitch recorded debut EP Hot Singles in Your Area themselves, which is indicative of their DIY-style and gives you a great taste of the rocky Mitch sound. There’s more than a little feeling of the likes of Arctic Monkeys, Milburn and The Libertines, in that they write tracks that are easy to relate to, effortlessly catchy and are generally good fun.
The EP opens up with the excellent Alabaster, which begins slowly but gradually builds into a big catchy rock track. The song drops down into a slow verse before bursting into a big, energetic rendition of the chorus with big guitar noise and crashing cymbal-heavy drum support. It becomes a fun, rocky indie blast with funky guitars and catchy singalong lyrics, with an awesome winding, overdriven guitar solo thrown in for good measure.
Next up is the equally catchy Upside Out, with its winding vocal delivery under choppy guitar chords making it almost impossible not to bop along to, followed by a deliciously infectious chorus. A big guitar noise solo pops out of nowhere, everything drops out for repetitions of “You’ve gotta listen up, you’ve gotta understand” and feeds into one final blast of the chorus.
Otherway sounds like what you’d get if you crossed The Libertines with Milburn. It begins with an upbeat musical intro, including a fun guitar riff that feeds into an opening verse with light guitar support, which drops down to launch into a singalong chorus with really fun vocal delivery. There’s a moment of calm after the second verse with repeats of “don’t know any other way” and some effects-ridden backing vocals as the guitars crescendo into a finale.
The sound changes totally for I Don’t Care, which is much more laid back to begin with but soon hots up with almost shouted vocals through the chorus, followed by a heavily overdriven guitar solo.
Final track August is bigger and rockier, starting with vocals supported by just bass and drum support with guitars gradually entering, then a building pre-chorus of repeated vocals “it’s really getting to me” before a vocal-led brief chorus. There’s a musical interlude of cool guitar riffs that feeds into a big rendition of the chorus which ends with lone vocals to bring an excellent debut EP to a close.
We asked Jack to tell us about what influenced the band’s music. He said: “Our experiences with our mates, families, girls and what’s going on around us. A recurring theme is definitely that ‘us against the world’ kind of feeling. I think that’s really powerful, that feeling of when you’ve got your mates with you, you can do anything. That’s kind of what Mitch is.”
We also asked Jack about getting noticed as a band in Ireland and about the country’s music scene generally, and he told us: “There’s a great scene here in Dublin, there’s a lot of quality acts making killer tunes, from great unsigned bands like The Heart Vandals, Brand New Friend and Chasing Felix to more established acts like Girl Band, Otherkin and Meltybrains.
“We’ve found it difficult to get people to listen to stuff, people shut off a little over here when they hear it’s an ‘Irish Band.’ I don’t know what that’s about, it’s weird. There’s so many great bands around but a very limited number of people in the industry supporting homegrown talent in any meaningful way.”
Let’s hope this goes some way to help people notice that there are great bands out there in Ireland, like Mitch. The band are currently working on their second EP and organising a couple of gigs around Ireland before the summer. Interestingly, they also tell us they’re hoping to bring their show to the UK in the summer – so keep your eyes out for that.