Under Starling - Mongrel (EP)
Hailing from Waterford, the Viking City of Ireland, Under Starling are breathing fresh air into the Irish music scene with their unique brand of alternative rock. All flocks start small, but this gritty four-piece are rapidly forming a group of followers through their energetic live shows and popular releases. Latest singles Icarus and Purple Heights were praised by Hot Press, RTE 2XM and all audiences on their national tour. Between crowd-surfing, mosh pits, and the interaction Danny has with the audience, the band has always been connected with their fans. The escapism offered by their music and live shows brings people together like a flock of starlings. We are like murmurations.
The band has played support to many famous acts throughout the years such as Walking on Cars, Fangclub, and Bitch Falcon to name a few. Their own tours have seen packed out shows in the likes of Fred Zeppelins, Dolans, Roisín Dubh, and Whelans. Under Starling are currently recording their next EP with noted producer Christian Best with plans to release later this year.
The Mongrel EP is a body of work that showcases the evolution of the band over the last few years. Each song is enveloped in the emotions of adolescence, and inspired by life events experienced while growing up. Themes of love, heartbreak, adversity, and perseverance are interwoven throughout the EP. This ‘mongrel’ of a project was recorded over multiple years in various locations - from studios across the country (Black Mountain Studios, Hellfire Studios and Monique Studios) to the humble shed where the band first began.
Due to the band's diverse taste in music, the five tracks on the EP combine elements of indie, alternative, and hard rock music. Listening to artists such as Ben Howard, Bon Iver, and Kings of Leon awoke a poetic side to Danny's lyricism and induced an ethereal element to the songwriting. The heavier aspects were inspired by the surge of hard rock in the early 2000s from the likes of My Chemical Romance, Foo Fighters and Muse. In combining these two aspects, Under Starling have composed a compelling body of work.
The focus track on the EP is Mongrel, previously released as a single and reviewed here.
Arrows open the EP. An indie ballad turned into a hard rock number catches the listener's attention straight away. The emotions expressed in the lyrics are appropriately delivered by the lead singer who shows his potential and range.
Icarus carries some dark subtones that are brightened by the lead vocal and an upbeat arrangement. Despite the initial darkness in the intro, the track is a wave of positivity. The dynamic changes within make this piece a standout.
Palindrome soothes everything, even the vocals are gentle and full of compassion and consolation.
Big Fish is based on a steady drumbeat and the rhytm is so catchy it gets to your bones. Once again, the vibe is slightly dark but not to the point of depression, more of acceptance that things don't always go as planned.