Out On A Limb have consistently flown the flag for quality and independence on the Irish circuit for the best part of a decade now. The Limerick-Cork alliance has already brought us the likes of giveamanakick, Ten Past Seven, The Waiting Room and Crayonsmith, but this is their first split 7" release since 2006.
And it's a belter. Limerick's WINDINGS we've known about for a while now. Their eponymous debut was released in 2005 and it (mostly) showcased a more introspective side to ex-givemanakick front growler Steve Ryan's psyche. Since then, his project has expanded to a more recognised 'group' identity with contributions from Liam Marley, Aaron Mulhall, Patrick O'Brien and Stephen Purcell and their long-awaited second album is finally scheduled for an October release.
They weigh in with the enigmatic 'Old Like J' here. It's apparently an ode to a silver-haired guitar hero and it's still in touch with the close-miked, intimacy of the best bits of the debut, only now it's more fully-realised and tinged with glockenspiel, accordion and sadness respectively. It's quite lovely actually and the string-assisted end coda brings it beautifully to fruition.
VERTIGO SMYTH I know less of, but I'm very happy to make his acquaintance here. If I used the tern 'enigmatic' in relation to 'Old Like J', I should perhaps have held it back for Mr. Smyth, who apparently hails from County Clare and is an Aries, but gives little else away on his website.
That's fine. There's always room for enigmas, even in built-up areas and Vertigo's 'Armada Song' is an absolute gem. He can be found executing a fine acoustic 'ukelele' version complete with whistling solo on his website but the fully-realised version of the song is especially resonant. It's a wonderfully vivid, orchestrally-inclined tale, choosing the disastrous Spanish armada as a lasting example of the power-thirsty failure of Man ("that whole Armada thing was not a good idea/ lost to a man somewhere off Cape Clear"), is impressively rich of vocal and keeps that all-imporatant whistling solo gloriously intact.
Two fab new slivers of excitement under one roof then. Well done Out On A Limb. It's a pleasure to have you back on W&H's radar.
Windings on Myspace
Out On A Limb Records online
Vertigo Smyth online