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Album Review: Little Matador by Little Matador

Ireland’s Little Matador released their self titled debut album in the UK on the 21st April. It has been shrouded in some clamour, while a Snow Patrol side project may not get everybody filled with excitement (AD certainly wasn’t jumping for joy) the band do have a certain rock pedigree. While Nathan Connolly may be better known for his work with Snow Patrol, the band also featured Dave Magee from Northern Irish hard rockers La Faro.

Before you listen to Little Matador cast off those blinkers. The album feels like a band casting the shackles of their day jobs and making an album that feels natural. That freedom is evident throughout the album.

It’s a bit of a slow burner, ‘Stitch Yourself Up’ and ‘Reasons’ may be slabs of dirty rock, but they don’t fill you with a great deal of confidence. The latter even sounds like a rockier Kasabian. You find yourself wondering if the album will descend into the pits of so called ‘lad rock’.

Fortunately that’s not the case, by fourth track ‘Boom Boom’ you know you’re in for a treat. It ramps up the big dirty riffs, while the quiet moments create an expectation that the track will kick off at anytime. When ‘Boom Boom’ does sporadically kick off it turns in a magnificent beast. ‘The Night’ continues this party atmosphere sounding huge.

The most remarkable thing about Little Matador is how Connolly has tamed the guitar playing of Magee, unlike anything he produced with Lafaro it is an obvious step up in quality. While some of the intensity and magic of Lafaro might not be there you can recognise that his skills have been honed and his range is wide. Likewise Magee has unleashed the beast within Connolly who does an astounding job as a rock front man.

Little Matador really comes into the fore in the final four tracks, ‘Liar Liar’ is a short, snappy and raucous; ‘Cheating Heart’ has a fantastic rock ‘n’ roll swagger; ‘This Crooked Wood’ churns along well before a brilliant climax. ‘Leaving Anyway’ is the obligatory slow album closer. It sounds like an old quiet Led Zeppelin inspired (lost) love rock song.

Little Matador aren’t going to break aren’t breaking any boundaries with this album, they are however creating something new to each member and doing some vastly different to their full time bands. Well worth checking out


AD rating: 7/10

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