Finding St. Kilda is the debut full length from Northern Irish trio Axis Of. With a quintessentially Celtic approach to modern alt-punk, it constantly morphs between communal melodies of work-song, sharply forged riffage and punk ‘n’ roll rhythms that occupy the natural progression for the musical lineage of Biffy Clyro’s family tree.
And what’s it like?
Although the melodies are intwined with ‘man-choir’ moments of masculine pomp, the album coarsely grits its teeth upon the aggression of classic hardcore punk and invites some indie twang along to soften the blow. Closer ‘Lifehammer’ partially resembles the Meat Puppets/Nirvana classic ‘Lake Of Fire’ whereas opener ‘Cardiel’ tackles the muddied tracks of The Dead Kennedys with Jello Biafra’s motivation underpinning its triumphant density.
However, a majority of the songwriting suggests a heavy influence of folk music. Throughout the call and response of ‘Mendelssohnstrasse’ and ‘Brobdingnagian’ it couldn’t be clearer that if Axis Of were sustaining fiddles and accordions in place of guitars and drums, they would sound like a significantly less-bearded incarnation of The Dubliners rather than purveyors of refreshingly inventive punk rock.
But the album is inventive. The band have penned a sound that is fairly original and full of unabashed character. Although the middle of the album veers off into terrains of thoughtlessness with ‘Re-written in Big Ink’ and the lurching grooves of ‘Stan Winston’s Rough Seas’, there’s still enough substance to herd the components into one cohesive unit. When ‘Mapping St Kilda’ hits with its simple catchy riff, the album peaks, preserving a steady level of jubilation throughout the discordant ‘Edge Of The Canebrake’ and previously mentioned closer.
What’s the tracklisting?
3. We Dine on Seeds
4. The World’s Oldest Computer
6. Stan Winston’s Rough Seas
8. Re-written in Big Ink
9. Mapping St Kilda
10. Edge of the Canebrake
Can you listen to anything now?
What’s the final verdict?
Overall, Finding St Kilda is a passionate insight to a three piece that should have big things awaiting them. Should they follow the same path as Biffy Clyro, their hooks could easily translate to large arenas and pull an audience looking for something more ballsy, punky and oddly touching. Keep an eye out!
Words by Leo Troy