Every now and then, a band will come out of nowhere with a debut release that flows so well that I won’t care about the lyrics or musicianship or even the genre. If it sounds good, I’ll be able to listen to it on repeat countless times in a row even if I have no idea what’s going on in the songs. This doesn’t happen to me often, but when it does it’s always a very indescribable experience. Something about the way that the songs are put together grabs a hold of me deep down inside and doesn’t let go even if I can’t pinpoint why any of it happens.
It’s been almost two years since I last discovered a band to have this effect on me, but Irish Handcuffs, and their EP, “stubbs.”, have become the newest band to capture me with their music for no reason that I can come up with other than “because they’re really damn good”.
Presumably named after the Smoke or Fire song from 2007’s This Sinking Ship, Irish Handcuffs play an extremely melodic brand of punk that wouldn’t be out of place on an early 2000’s Warped Tour line up. The energy is high, the songs are short, the hooks are memorable, the “whoas” are all in the right places… the grasp that Irish Handcuffs has on the genre is impressive.
Sounding like seasoned players who have been together for years, Irish Handcuffs are actually a very new band, having only formed a few months ago in December 2011. Their young age is nothing to laugh at and it works as a selling point, boasting their ability to create music so tight that has taken some veterans a couple of tries to perfect. Upon listening to stubbs. for the first time, one might come to the conclusion that they’re from a basement somewhere in Brunswick, New Jersey, or maybe a small suburb outside of Chicago or Richmond at the least. In reality, Irish Handcuffs hail from Regensburg, Germany. This has absolutely zero effect on the music or how you should view the band, it’s just an interesting tidbit that I discovered and thought would be fun to share.
Realistically, not everyone is going to fall in love with Irish Handcuffs in the same way that I did. That’s just not statistically possible. Anyone who is looking for their next fix of melodic punk rock in the vein of Smoke or Fire, The Gaslight Anthem, Banner Pilot, The Menzingers, or American Steel, I highly recommend checking out Irish Handcuffs and their EP, stubbs. Remember that first time you heard Sink or Swim? Yeah, it’s kind of like that.
Stream the album below.