ASK NIALL Murphy, or rather, get into an engrossing discussion with him on music, and eventually he will come straight out and say it: "I'm a punk". Give him another few minutes and he'll cough up: "But I really like Yes...but no I'm a punk!"
Niall need not worry, for all their posturing, the original punks were closet prog fans (John Lydon's PiL anyone? ) but one listen to Oh Boland's long awaited debut confirms Niall and his bandmates, Eanna MacDonnchadha and Simon McDonagh, are firmly in the punk camp - albeit more in the melodic, garage-rock, end rather than the three chord thrash arena.
It makes sense as Niall loves Big Star, so no matter how rough, abrasive, fast, and furious the song - and the trio know how to crank it up and rock hard - Niall's songs never sacrifice their essentially melodic nature. A pop side is always there to sweeten the attack of the distorted guitars. As anyone who has a copy of Nuggets or The Libertines' debut knows, it is a contrast that in skilful hands', like Niall's, creates something special.
Spending time with Oh Boland's debut reveals just that - something special, 10 tracks that have head banging, punk rage, anthemic choruses, and an earworm melodicism, summed up by 'Doctoring' and concert favourites 'Waiting On You' and 'Mutton Island'. Spilt Milk also shows the band have a keen sense of atmosphere and contrast, as displayed in the haunting, acoustic, 'Night Walking'.
Oh Boland join that long line of great music to have come from Tuam, a line that includes So Cow and Blaze X, and Niall Murphy can now show the world what a fine songwriter he is. The exciting thing is, the best may be yet to come.