It’s perhaps one of the most underrated gems in Irish music history, but the Sultans of Ping’s eccentric debut album is currently in the midst of being celebrated, championed and re-released by Cherry Red Records. A quarter of a century on from the albums initial unleashing unto the world, the inherently Corkonian indie-four piece have long-since stopped performing live, but in 2018 it seems the music world is finally beginning to appreciate what the Cork band brought to the table.
The sheer bravado, unequivocal lack of a shit given by the group was simply joyous. This punk-rock ideal permeated every aspect of the band, even the name, a thinly veiled jibe at the Dire Straits hit ‘Sultans of Swing’ – bare in mind, Knopfler and Co. were considered almost infallible at the time.
Of course, everyone is well acquainted with the groups 1992 smash hit single “Where’s Me Jumper,” a song which has now well and truly infiltrated the realms of pop culture, somewhat due to the track acting as the theme song for Chris O’Dowd’s “Moone Boy” More recently the song featured at the conclusion of The Young Offenders film, another innately Cork piece. ‘Casual Sex in the Cineplex’ is simply heaving with simple, indie-pop bangers. “Back In A Tracksuit,” complete with its Japanese intro, is a hair-raising curtain opener whilst “2 Pints of Rasa” is a personal favourite. Perhaps it is the lyrical simplicity of the Sultans music that makes it far more appealing: “Wednesday afternoon and you sit out on your wall, Mandy says you’re kinda heavy but that’s not true at all, and I quite like you, you are my ice cream.” It’s hardly fecking poetry but it’s undeniably relatable, it’s genuine, there literally could not be any less notions in the words gently uttered by frontman Niall O’Flaherty. “Give Him A Ball (And a Yard of Grass)”, a fast-paced punk anthem written about Nottingham Forest footballer Nigel Clough, has become one of the bands trademarks; “he’s a nice young man, he’s got a lovely smile” goes the refrain, and the simple drum fill that echoes throughout the track gives it that unmistakably early 90’s football hooligan-obsessed world vibe.
Surely now, 25 years on from releasing this nonchalant pop masterpiece, the Sultans can be given the recognition they truly deserve. Some may say it’s madness to consider them as one of the finest bands to come from Ireland, but they obviously don’t know what they’re talking about. Simplistic, witty, fast paced and massively self-aware brilliance. *Insert joke about misplacing a jumper here*