THIS WEEK I'M LISTENING TO...THE IRONTOWN DIEHARDS Linchpin (independent)
The second album from an enormously charismatic band, ‘Linchpin’ is an immensely likeable and hugely accessible hard rock album with masses of crossover appeal – heavy enough for the metal market, bluesy enough for the groovers and packing some funky clout in the backbone. Image-wise the Belfast four-piece – vocalist Phil Dixon, guitarist Andy Baxter, bassist Mark McCallion and drummer Eamon Lenehan – are unlikely to appeal to the average Slipknot fan, dressed to kill and looking a bit Peaky Blinders, but like the Des Moines’ noisemongers they’ve created a recognisable identity of their own and pack a punch to match. The instrumentation is superb, beautifully played and boasting light and shade to fit the moods each song conjures up, the vocals harmonies are lush and above it all Dixon’s voice is a dream. Tracks like ‘Alive’ – a bouncy little cut smattered with understated lead runs and a gorgeous vocal – ‘Shallow Love’ (which allows Baxter to have some fun) and the straight-down-the-line ‘Die Slow’ (where the band almost shake hands with Alice In Chains) are creative and dynamic, with a groove that’s guaranteed to put a smile on your face and a shuffle in your shoes.
There’s pretty much a song for every mood on ‘Linchpin’, and it’s the album’s multiplicity which is the key to its charm. It’s an album which doesn’t stand still and, much like the quartet that crafted it, it’s not an easy thing to pigeonhole, which is no bad thing in itself: in these here-today-gone-later-today times, its diversity will be its longevity. Check ’em out at www.theirontowndiehards.com
© John Tucker October 2019