NIALL MURPHY is best known as the leader, vocalist, and songwriter of the great Tuam indie-punk band Oh Boland, but he is hitting such a purple patch these days he needs a second band to explore a different side to his creativity.
That band is Mollusk and they headline the next Citóg night at the Róisín Dubh on Wednesday August 5 at 9pm, and its origins lie in a burst of writing Niall was on early this year.
"I've been writing a lot since last Christmas," Niall tells me. "After maybe two months, I found myself with a whole Oh Boland record - which I've since fallen out with and started to rewrite - and a lot of excess material. With Mollusk I really just wanted to have fun and record some of the stuff I didn't want to do with Oh Boland, along with stuff I felt didn't suit Oh Boland."
Another imperative was the freedom to explore different sounds and styles to the rough and raw pop-punk of Oh Boland. "I wanted to do something mellower, more jangly, something with more keyboards," says Niall. "A mellower little brother to the Oh Boland stuff."
An example of that difference is heard on the opening track to Mollusk's eponymous mini-album, 'Nothing Ain't Nothing When It's Something Or Other', which mixes Bo Diddley, British beat, 1960s pop, and r'n'b. The terrific power-pop boogie of 'Cruisin'along' meanwhile marries Status Quo with Big Star. "That was a jokey song dedicated to my father going on and on about his love of 'American rockin' road music'," says Niall.
The diversity of influences on Mollusk is reflected not only in the music, but in how it was recorded as well. "I was listening to a lot of Beat Happening when we did it," says Niall, "so that honesty, roughness, and exploration of limitations carry through, what you might call lo-fi or something. I was also listening to a lot of weird psych, Love, Syd Barrett, West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band, some Galaxie 500, Pavement...all the fashionable stuff!"
Mollusk was recorded by Niall, alongside his friend Kieran Moylan, in a room over The Rustic Vaults, in Tuam, the pub owned by Niall's family. "I played all the instruments myself which was a challenge," he says. "In many ways the idea of the record was to challenge myself, to see if I could do it! To be honest, I wasn't too pushed about results, it was more about the process, and having fun with it! So it's pretty rough, I'm a terrible drummer! But I'm getting better!"
For the Citóg show, Niall will be joined by Kieran on drums, as well as Josh Noone of Me And My Dog on lead guitar, and Finn McCarthy from Galway surf-rockers We Are Ruffians on bass. However Niall says, "I wanna feel free to rotate members after a while and include inputs from all my buddies, have a laugh." He also says a "10 track, infinitely more together, incredibly serious, album to drop before the years out!" One to look forward to.
Support is from FONDA and Marcus Fields. Admission is free.