Album review: Not Squares

Not Squares - BOLTS (Strange Brew Rekkids)

Not Squares.

Not Squares.

IMPRESSIVE THOUGH Not Squares’ 2010 debut Yeah OK was, eight of its 10 songs were completely overshadowed by epic raver ‘Release The Bees’ and the post-punk riff fest ‘Asylum’.

Both tracks also highlighted a problem at the core of the band’s sound - an indecision over whether they were electro or post-punk. It has taken five years for the follow-up, a dangerously long time for a band still establishing itself, but that time off has been well spent - BOLTS is the sound of Not Squares firmly in control of its identity and purpose.

The Belfast trio have opted to plunge fully into indie-electro, with strong overtones of Daft Punk and Kraftwerk. Meanwhile the post-punk elements are reimagined through an electronic lens or transferred into the bass lines, resulting in a more confident, cohesive, and assured sound.

Recent single ‘Oops Said Hi’, the third section in the opening suite of music, benefits from an inspired pop chorus and some tasty funk-disco bass work towards the end; ‘Fall Far’ is almost as good, and already a live favourite; but ‘Hey You’ is the show stealer with its call and response vocals, relentless rhythm, and thrilling, varying electro noisesthat fizz, burst, and flash like laser from a Star Wars stormtrooper blaster. BOLTS is a serious step forward for the Ulstermen.

Not Squares launch BOLTS at Strange Brew in the Róisín Dubh on Thursday April 9 at 9pm. Admission is €10/5. See www.roisindubh.net

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