Updated: Oct 5, 2021
A Plan For Something (Blowtorch Classics vol.1 ) is now available in red and black vinyl. Julia Mason reviews.
Blowtorch Records have released album A Plan for Something: Blowtorch Classics Vol 1.
Blowtorch Records is a boutique record company, based in Galway on the West Coast of Ireland. It provides an online presence, physical releases and promotion for bands and artists.
They have released a vinyl album which is crammed with the talent that exists on the label. Although they focus on Irish music, they have bands from Japan to Wales, England to Canada and the United States. The common thread is simple - quality, independent music which deserves to be heard.
This Side (love it – I mean Side 1 is so over-used!) opens with I Want You by Limerick's Static Vision. Somehow it feels right to start this album with a shouted “1, 2, 3, 4”. Then we’re into The Ramones territory, all electrifying guitars and catchy chorus hooks. A 3 mins burst which gets the album off to a blistering start.
This is followed by Belfast's Paper Tigers with ‘No Ghosts Walk’, an ode to grief and loss but rather than feel melancholy the track takes us through the various stages of grief, ending on a thunderous high. Francesca was the debut single by Undercover Martians – what a great name for a band! Immediately reminiscent of The Cramps or the B52s, the scuzzy guitars and retro vocals are somehow the perfect sound for a band called Undercover Martians.
The Rivers provide For You the first single released from their Life in General EP. Its inspiration comes from the drive for the perfect life and doing anything we can to achieve it. It is sharp and angular with a beautifully precise vocal. The Rivers somehow manage to convey a self confident tone which perfectly conveys the sentiment of this track. pazzle from Japan’s concrete twin has a density and dark atmosphere but a vocal with the lightest touch overlaying perfectly complementing the harsh guitars.
Homewrecker by Check please! was created in response to Marissa Dai (Check Please! is her project) being told all the songs sound the same. It's all jangly guitars and delicious vocals, perhaps softer than many of the songs on this album but a wonderful way to round off This Side.
By the way a lovely touch is the script underneath each track on the album sleeve, a few lines written by the relevant artist which gives us a little more insight.
Flipping to The Other Side, we are immediately hit with Omniscient Delusion by Turnstiles. This young band from Galway are a thrilling prospect. They released their debut EP at the beginning of 2021 and this is a stand out track. Intelligent thought-provoking lyrics delivered with a punk aesthetic.
Noisy and urgent it’s a striking start to The Other Side.
A Trip Around The Sun by WAXX from Cornwall is brilliant fun. A punk love song full of pounding drums, thrashing guitars and crisp slightly electronic vocals which just puts a massive smile on your face and makes you want to dance.
Technology has allowed bands such as Nixer to exist and still be creative through the pandemic, even when separated physically. With the duo split between London and Dublin they managed to produce dancefloor friendly synth-based music which has seen them reach the ears of Iggy Pop no less. Magnolia Mouth is their second single and is Nixer down to a tee.
Canadian Keith Mosfet now lives in Amsterdam and has used his travels to influence his music. Now Your Life’s Gone was created by layering synths and vocals with striking effect. This is followed by Over The Hill by Moondog, a track full of twists and turns. It's claustrophobic and chaotic, then calm and considered. It's surprising and unpredictable, and surely that is a joy to achieve all in one song.
A Plan For Something ends on an optimistic note. Kid Slang’s Sweet Cherry Pie bids us farewell with a ballad from cowboy country and some home-baked positivity. Surely in the current climate, cherry pie is exactly what we all need to get us through troubled times.
This body of work is a labour of love. Pulled together through the pandemic and impacted by the horrendous delays in vinyl pressing, it’s absolutely worth the wait. With the wealth of quality independent music now available on Blowtorch Records I suspect making the song choices was pretty stressful. Granted a good problem to have but I have absolutely no doubt there will be a Vol 2 and I am looking forward to it already.
One final point, this album is available in traditional black vinyl, but I highly recommend the red. It is a thing of beauty indeed.