Blood, Glass and Gasoline
This album is not the future of rock n roll.
It’s far more urgent than that.
It’s the sound of now.
And now is not history’s brightest moment. Now is full of darkness and sadness and loss for so many. Anxiety, heartache, bewilderment, and despair.
But if this album is the sound of lockdown in Dublin, it’s not the sound of the clampdown. Far from it. This is an album of resistance, of hope in the darkness. Of beating the clock, squeezing out sparks in the dusty cellars of our despair. Lighting candles with the pennies we’d saved, or stolen, or dreamt of.
This is not the sound of the crowd. It’s certainly not the sound of the spirit level on immaculately, generically identikit city streets. This is the sound of the cracks in the concrete, the splinter in the grandfather clock. The flower in the dustbin. The torn page, full of wisdom, trampled underfoot in the rain.
The sound of not walking the line. The dance of the dead.
But that’s no surprise.
The songs of the Trouble Pilgrims have always been haunted.
Haunted by ghosts and spirits and spectres. Phantoms, shadows and dead souls.
Sometimes their music captures the sound of lonesome streets. Sometimes it transmits the speed and energy of signs and chevrons on the tarmac roads. Gone in the blink of an eye in a trial of taillights and neon. Roads laid by the people with the far away accents, far away dreams too. This is the sound of ghosts on the highway, ghost riders, ghost towns. It is the sound of basements, speeding trains, lonely places, dances, pinball machines. Fights, nights, righteous anarchy.
Whoever said that rock ‘n’ roll was a young man’s game had clearly never heard a girl group. And he’d never heard an album like this. This is an album of dust, rust, lust, and distrust. Of decay, shadows, souls in the era of low attention spans and soap box sets. It’s an album that demands to be listened to from start to finish. A piece of work. It’s a long-player. Look it up.
It was crafted by five of the most unrelenting spirits of Dublin’s underground music scene. The uncompromising Pilgrims. The last gang on Dub-a-linn town. The boys who never really left the town. And the town never left them. It’s also, importantly, a slab of Do-It-Yourself in a world of bubblegum dreams (and disasters). This is the sound of sleeves rolled up. Sweat, tears, anxiety, ambition. And camaraderie, solidarity, openness, ambition.
It is the sound of not compromising.
This is dark Dublin rhythm and blues. It’s not Americana. Maybe its Euro-cana? Music for the punishing ever-nights of Scandinavia, the lonesome donna in Venice putting on her faded ball gown for her last dance. This is the sound of the leather jacket hanging in a wardrobe. It could be in Lyon or Limerick or Lisbon. Once the broad shoulders of the local rocker held it aloft like a flag. Then he became a father, then a grandfather. Now he’s a patient. But the songs still matter to him. Even if his heart doesn’t keep up with the steady rhythm of the snare drum.
This is the sound of time marching.
It is not the sound of standing still. Anything but.
This album is an invitation to dance.
Some people might wonder why this band of five waited so long to make the album of their lives.
Other people will understand why.
Michael Mary Murphy 2021