Life isn’t fair. If it was, then I would be a few pounds lighter, and The Virginmarys would get at least half the airtime that Royal Blood get. But it’s not, I am not, and they don’t. Media bods, too busy self-congratulating themselves over Royal Blood and the stripped back ‘how-do-they-make-that-noise-with-so-few-of-them’ scene that followed their debut, have failed to notice the bands that were right under their collective noses all along. The Picturebooks are one such example, but The Virginmarys are the prime example. The Macclesfield lads are one of the most explosive and visceral bands that the UK has produced in years. If only they got a sniff of the exposure that any of the current media darlings get, then they surely would be playing on larger stages. But, like I say, life isn’t fair, so we lick our wounds and move on. The end of their record contract, and the departure of bassist Matt Rose, could have signaled a period of mourning for the remaining band members, but instead they have returned with a self-produced EP, and the wheels are back on.
Singer/ guitarist Ally Dickaty and drummer extraordinaire Danny Dolan bring us ‘Sitting Ducks’, four tracks that indicate that The Virginmarys are very much still in the game. Dolan’s inimitable thumping style kickstarts the title track into life, before the raspy vocals from Dickaty begin to soar. The grooves are massive throughout as the duo produce a moment to get the fans down the front busting a move or two. This leads into the single ‘Sweet Loretta’, with hooks aplenty, as the guys keep the high tempo flowing with a sonic maelstrom. ‘Through The Sky’ deserves to be on every playlist on every mainstream radio station. Commercial enough not to scare anyone tuning in by mistake, and gritty enough to keep rock fans everywhere happy. Dickaty’s guitar sound is immense, especially as he lets rip during the last few moments, and what else can be said about Dolan’s drumming that hasn’t already been said? ‘Sleep’ slows the tempo down as Dickaty strips it back during a raw and emotional four minutes. Lyrically, it’s heart-breaking with a powerful, passionate performance from Dickaty that bleeds emotion. As raw as it gets really.
‘Sitting Ducks’ is the sound of a band with a lot still to say. Fat-free and lean, it’s some of their best work. Considering how good their previous output has been, that’s quite an achievement.
Available September 22nd via the band’s website
Review: Dave Stott