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More than OK – Otherkin album review

I don’t know why, but I really struggled to write an intro for this review, so I’ll keep it short. Otherkin’s debut LP is a breath of fresh air.

The Dublin based Garage-rockers have had a phenomenally good year, having completed a headline UK Tour, embarked on another overseas adventure with The Amazons AND a tour support slot for punk-legends The Dead Kennedys, Otherkin have been on an adrenaline filled tour-de-force of alternative music. Oh yeah, they also opened for Guns N’ Roses at Slane, grand job like, no hassle.

The self-titled album is a frenetic 40 minutes of no nonsense alt rock. Half-man, half-Energizer Bunny Luke O’Reilly fronts the band while also chipping in on rhythm guitar. The Slane native sleazes and salaciously marauds his way through the 12 tracks featured. ‘OK’ grunts into life with initial track ‘Treat Me So Bad’. For any young bands out there, take note, that’s how you kick off an LP. Heavy, grungy, dirty riffs with an absolutely ball-busting chorus, guitarist Conor Wynne is prevalent throughout providing tastefully aggressive licks, whilst the rhythm section of David Anthony on bass and Rob Summons on drums is industriously frantic. The opening number is, in my own humble opinion, probably OK’s best work and it ambitiously sets the bar high for the rest of the LP. Thankfully the other numbers are up to the task.

The latest single ‘Come On, Hello’ follows in what is a jarring one-two combination of punchy ditties, and is debatably the stand out track. It’s toe tapping, head-banging inducing goodness. O’Reillys raspy call to arms “Do it again, do it again, come on hello” is infectious and the boys don’t give you a chance to catch your breath, launching into ‘AY AY’, one of the group’s earliest ever releases.  “I’m fuckin’ inspired” were the words spouted by everyone’s favourite Danish drummer, Lars Ulrich of Metallica fame, upon hearing Otherkin’s neck-snapping ‘Yeah, I Know’ and it is an absolutely fearsome track. The guitar/bass doubling, driving riff powering the number is borderline obscene and it’s a testament to the band that they’ve concocted such a monstrous sound so early on in their career. ‘Bad Advice’ is another oxymoronic welcome punch into the chest, imagine the Hives but if the Hives were good and on steroids, that’s ‘Bad Advice’. It’s superb – catchy melodies, driving bass lines and just the right amount of grit.

‘React’ alongside ‘So So’ close out what is a formidable debut. When I was a teenager I lamented the lack of genuine, hard hitting rock acts in Ireland. For a country with such an impressive alternative music history, the scene hit a bit of a slump for a number of years. However, acts like Bitch Falcon, Fangclub and now Otherkin are resurrecting a truly wonderful genre.

Music like this never goes away, it just slips into a dormant spell – Otherkin’s new LP signals the eruption. It’s viscous, scorching and demands to be heard.