February 2016 - the debut extended play, Locomotive
“Locomotive is an E.P. concerned with the essence of sound, the incommunicable feeling that music can give us when the right notes are played at the right time, and all the harmonics gather into one whole being. In this way Stomptown Brass cast themselves aside from preconceived notions (one that I admittedly held) that they are a ‘festival act’, made only for live performance and not the studio.." - The Last Mixed Tape
The EP itself is made up of 4 tracks, 3 originals and one creative arrangement. It opens with the uncompromising title track Locomotive: a forceful wall of brass chords sets a contrast with the low growling of the tuba and trombones. The song grooves along with an almost filmic melody until the tuba hits you with growling multiphonic chords and the percussion starts to build in intensity and speed climaxing into a funky dancehall disco beat. An intense composition that presents what Stomptown Brass is all about.
The second track - My Duchess Has a Heart of Gold - punctures the heavy brass sound by featuring a military style vocal call and response. Lyrically, it is a funky ode to Dutch Gold, sung in the character of a junkie who has lived on the streets for too long. "With the hot jazz vim and vigor of ‘My Duchess Has A Heart of Gold’, Stomptown Brass show they are students of their influences but are not chained or confined to them. Rolling along with all the forward motion the E.P’s title would suggest and made all the more convincing by big call and response vocals, the song is the highlight in a record brimming with life".- The Last Mixed Tape. "more assured and taut then, is the E.P.’s single, ‘My Duchess has a Heart of Gold.’ It’s call and response motif, draws up the playful nature of the music, and the sound of being in the coolest gang in town. The lyrics are irreverent fun..." - PureMzine
Next up is the most compositionally sophisticated track: Fury. Inspired by a famous Gregorian chant Dies Irae (Day of Wrath), Fury "is exactly the sound you think a brass band should make. It is a gem that sparkles with confidence and muscularity." It is a musical journey that "weaves from large swells of melodically spiralling brass to shuffling rhythm in the blink of an eye. One moment the group are reigning it all in, and the next it’s a full-on tour de force of joyous musical celebration." - The Last Mixed Tape.
The EP closes with a New Orleans twist on an Irish classic: The Auld Triangle: Arranged as a funeral dirge, the rolling snare begins a sombre take on a well-known melody. Tradition in New Orleans dictates that once the band is out of sight of the grave side, the band breaks into the second-line: a swing-time street party. Trumpets and clarinet exchange interweaving melodies over a cacophony of trombone rasps and piccolo snare. An organ-like wall of chords ends the inventive and creative take on Brendan Behan's Irish staple. The final track is "a glorious example of a young Dublin band nodding at two parallel histories, and getting good vibes back from both." - PureMzine.
Locomotive EP Launch - The Sugar Club, Dublin
February 19th 2016, with photos by Tara Thomas
Music & Lyrics written by James O'Leary
Produced by James O'Leary
Recorded by Joe McGrath at Hellfire Studios, Dublin
Mixed by Alex Borwick
Mastered by Fergal Davis
Rob Grant - Trumpet, Lead Vocals
Liam Ryan - Trumpet
Ciaran Sutton - Saxophone, Clarinet
James O'Leary - Trombone, Vocals
Finnian Kelly - Trombone
Lorcan Brennan - Trombone
Brian Larkin - Tuba
Fiachra Kinder - Snare Drum, Cymbals
Conor MacSweeny - Snare Drum, Cymbals
Darragh McGrath - Bass Drum