Primed to set the world alight
Karl Blakesley
10:00 7th February 2022

More about:

If you’re not already aware of young Irish upstarts NewDad, then now is the time to get familiar. Formed in lockdown, the Galway-based quartet burst onto the scene early last year with their debut EP Waves, a raw, dark and utterly mesmerising first release that introduced the world to their captivating blend of shoegaze and dream-pop. Now back with their brilliant second EP Banshee, NewDad look primed to set the world alight.

Recorded in Belfast and mixed by John Congleton — whose production credits include releases from the likes of Lana Del Rey and Phoebe Bridgers — the extra time and firepower in the studio seems to have helped NewDad push forward sonically. With Banshee, they have returned with a collection of songs that are richer, bolder and even more enchanting than their previous effort.

Recent single 'Say It' kicks off proceedings with some wonderful hazy guitars, over which frontwoman Julie Dawson softly sings of the frustrations of unrequited love. It’s a perfect bittersweet pop song, with the catchy, upbeat melody contrasted nicely against the heartache found within the lyrics. This song then makes way for the rousing title track Banshee, where Dawson first touches on the anxiety and insomnia she has felt in the past year, born out of lockdown-living in the west of Ireland house share that all four members of NewDad co-habit together. 

The stress of being anxious and trapped seems to be a recurrent theme throughout all the songs here, with 'Spring' a more introspective track that continues along a similar vein. It begins gently as Dawson achingly sings: “I’ve let myself down, run myself into the ground; I’ve let myself drown, so deep I can’t be found” before a gigantic splash of instrumentation arrives to really bring the listener into her restless mindsight. Although only a short three-and-a-half minutes in length, the regular switches between ambient guitars to huge, epic swells help make the song feel sprawling and expansive despite its modest run-time.

'Thinking Too Much' also features these dramatic changes of pace, which seem to be quickly becoming a signature of NewDad’s sound. Although still centrally built around their wistful guitars, the song also rapidly jumps between laidback bass-driven grooves to dazzling rising synth passages. Before you know it, the EP then draws to a close with their excellent late 2021 single 'Ladybird', a song inspired by Greta Gerwig’s 2017 movie of the same name. With an intoxicating melody and a lighter, brighter feel when compared to the other four tracks, it makes for quite the triumphant and happy ending.

It is clear, then from Waves and now Banshee that NewDad — whose four members are amazingly all still in their early twenties — have tapped into something truly magical with their music. By the time Banshee is over, you’ll be hard-pressed to have not been completely swept away in the sounds and emotions they have forged. With a debut album now surely on the horizon, the future for NewDad is looking very promising indeed. 

Banshee arrives 9 February via Fair Youth.

Grab your copy of the Gigwise print magazine here.

More about:

Photo: Press