Dublin act Little Green Cars gearing up for a busy summer
Dublin band Little Green Cars have toured the US on their own and as Hozier's support act and next month they're back in Dublin for a hometown gig as they continue to tour their superb second album. Guitarist Adam O'Regan talks to Brian Campbell
NOT to be confused with Kerry act Walking on Cars or the song Little Green Bag (famously used in Reservoir Dogs), Dublin band Little Green Cars [LGC] are worth remembering.
Their slick and atmospheric second album Ephemera is a real statement of intent from a band who are not only doing well in Ireland but who have done multiple tours of the US and Canada.
You can understand how their tunes would appeal to fans across North America. To take just two of the stand-out tracks on Ephemera, The Garden of Death has a real Neil Young flavour to it, while the fantastic Easier Day has a definite hint of Fleetwood Mac.
The album is the follow-up to 2013’s Absolute Zero, which was produced by Markus Dravs (Arcade Fire, Coldplay, Mumford & Sons, Florence + the Machine).
The band - Stevie Appleby, Faye O'Rourke, Adam O'Regan, Donagh Seaver O'Leary and Dylan Lynch – have come a long way from the days of writing songs together in Appleby’s shed.
One of their big assets is that they have interchanging lead vocalists in Appleby and O’Rourke, with O’Rourke’s strong and soulful voice often recalling Marina Diamandis (of Marina and the Diamonds).
There’s a mix of shimmering indie-pop and jangly guitars, while they also do a nice line in stripped-back acoustic tunes (such as Brother and You vs Me). Guitarist Adam O’Regan admits that he was into quite a mix of music in his teens.
“Yeah, I listened to a strange and eclectic mixed bag of music. My dad was in the hospitality business for a while, so he was always interested in music they’d use to create an atmosphere. So there was a lot of Massive Attack, the soundtrack to the film Amelie [by Yann Tiersen] and then Play by Moby.
“My brother had a lot of MiniDiscs, if you remember them, so he had Kid A by Radiohead and the Vanilla Sky soundtrack and one of the first Doors albums. So there was quite a mish-mash of stuff. Then I started playing music myself.”
LGC were still in their teens when they made Absolute Zero and signed to the Glassnote label. Now an experienced touring band, headlining in the US and supporting Hozier and even playing Russia, they play a big hometown gig in Dublin’s Iveagh Gardens next month.
O’Regan says he and his bandmates gravitated towards each other in school “because we were the misfits that played music” and started the band.
They’ll have no shortage of big tunes to play live, with new album tracks Claire De Lune, The Song They Play Every Night, the Kate Bush-esque Good Women Do and the absolute belter that is The Party all sure to sound even more impressive on stage.
“We’ve done The Party live a good bit now and it does have an amazing energy to it,” says O’Regan. He says the band hope to book in some gigs up north later in the year: “That’ll definitely be on the cards.”
One of the biggest tunes from their debut was The John Wayne and the song was such a hit with one American fan of the band that he proposed to his girlfriend while it played. He then told singer Appleby that he was invited to the couple’s wedding.
And while Appleby’s and O’Rourke’s love lives (and specifically the break-up of their respective relationships) informed some of the lyrics on the new album, so too did the death of O’Regan’s father.
The song Brother, sung by O’Rourke, was written by O’Regan after his dad passed away.
“We had finished recording Absolute Zero and then about four weeks before it was released he passed away. He was 49. We were just about to embark on our first big tour of the States.
“It was in that environment that a lot of these songs were written. You do reach breaking point, so in that instance it was a case of what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
“You go through those vulnerable states together as a band and that helped us form a bond that can only be likened to family.”
Ephemera is out now on Glassnote. Little Green Cars headline Iveagh Gardens in Dublin on Saturday July 23, with support from Damien Dempsey and Sam Messayeh. They also play Folkfest Killarney in Co Kerry on July 8 (LittleGreenCars.com).