Last year’s album ‘Sinners and Lost Souls’ from Ireland’s Sons of Southern Ulster was a revelation: I wrote:
…it is an album that fuses both a folk tradition with a punk sensibility – and after all, both art forms are born from oppression and conflict to provide a cathartic release. There is a bridge here between The Pogues and the Dropkick Murphys to the more modern Murder Capital and of course Fontaines D.C..
The band has now released a remix of a song from that album – ‘Polaris’ – in anticipation of a new EP ‘Turf Accountant Schemes’ which features four tracks from the album, each of them re-imagined and re-mixed by Peter Briquette, bass player from the legendary The Boomtown Rats. The other three remixes are ‘Fear My Scorn’, ‘Live in the Past’ and ‘Stubby Yellow Fingers’. The EP will be released on 27 August (and you can pre-order through the link below).
What is the connection between the band and Briquette? It’s a geographic and musical connection, as Justin Kelly from the band explains:
The first music I ever bought was the ‘Like Clockwork’ single by the Boomtown Rats when I was twelve or thirteen. I was obsessed with The Rats so when Pete Briquette reached out to ask if he could remix a few tracks from our ‘Sinners and Lost Souls’ album, we were absolutely shocked. Apparently, a mutual friend has passed the album on to him and he was suitably intrigued. Pete also grew up in County Cavan, so he’d get a lot of the references and the tone. Lyrically the songs are very “Cavan” in that they are on the surface often quite harsh but contain a lot of dark humor.
I remember when the Boomtown Rats broke through. At that time it was highly unusual for an Irish band to make it in Britain. But for a Cavan man to be there!!! That was just bizarre. Cavan men were made to be farmers – not No.1 pop stars.
It is a marriage made in heaven. Full disclosure: The Boomtown Rats were one of the first live bands I ever saw at the old Capitol Theatre in Sydney and they have a special place for me musically as a result.
The remix of ‘Polaris’ is extraordinarily beautiful, as indeed is the song itself. Anthemic and graceful – Briquette has electrified the song, adding a frisson of excitement and mystery with the sinuous bass and a synth pulse that hovers ominously at the edges. This was always a song steeped in history which evolves and ascends to the chorus: Briquette has in essence rewired it to create spaces and sounds that render it ethereal.
The accompanying video is moving – sepi-tinted shots in the countryside and emotional performances that wring every emotion out of the song:
You can stream the single here or download straight from the band below, and pre-order the EP.