No shortage of converts to Cardinals musical message

Groove Tube with Cian O’Connell

There was a strong sense of Déjà vu for Cork-band Cardinals when they played to a sold-out Róisín Dubh crowd last Friday, coming to the close of their debut tour across Ireland and the UK – because it was the first time they had appeared in the venue since their very first gig.

“We went to a charity shop beforehand and got all these rings and glasses and furry coats,” bass player Aaron Hurley recalls of that show. “Took off our tops and stuff. We were like ah first gig, what do people do when they play gigs? We have more of an identity now.”

There is a lot of noise around the five-piece – praise has been heaped on by NME and Rolling Stone; Fontaines DC frontman Grian Chatten called them one of his favourite bands.

Cardinals have described their sound as pop at its core, but there is cloak-and-dagger shrouding that foundation. Sprawling shoegaze, punk, folk and surf rock dot their set, woven together by arresting melodies and fluid transitions from gentle waltzes to blistering walls of sound.

The group’s self-titled, debut EP arrives on Friday week, June 7.

It is impossible to box Cardinals into any one genre, partly because this collection of songs was developed over several years. A lot of growing up has come with different sounds and a handful of lineup changes. The formation now is clear with Aaron on bass, Oscar Gudinovic on guitar and the three Mannings – frontman Euan, drummer Darragh and accordion player Finn – completing the set.

“It’s very important to us because it’s an introduction in a sense, you know,” Aaron says of the EP. “Some of those songs were taken from three years ago… It’s a collection of songs that have defined our youth. Going from Kinsale to Cork City, say, and discovering Cork City. I’m excited because it’s a great EP as well.”

Pictured: Cardinals…Galway gig preceded their debut EP.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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