Published on September 1st, 2011 | by Lisa McInerney0
Review: LJ & The Treesleepers – Phantasmagoria
When I first heard LJ Devlin, at a gig down in Sherkin Island, I testified that I’d pay to hear her sing in the shower, she was so bloody good. Perhaps alarmed by my wanton disregard for the privacy of her ablutions, LJ recorded an EP and sent it to me instead, thus protecting her modesty and bathroom door lock. Phantasmagoria is the debut EP by LJ and her band, The Treesleepers, and it’s available now.
Making a name for themselves, particularly in the thriving West Cork scene, LJ and the Treesleepers have appeared on the bill with the likes of Fred, the Frank and Walters and Cathy Davey. Garage rock with a definite bluesy swagger, theirs is a sound well-suited to the re-Commitmentsisation of Ireland and … What? Re-Commitmentsisation is a thing! It refers to Ireland’s return to its spit n’ sawdust past, when life had a little less glint and no one but Marian Finucane had a rounded vowel to their name; LJ & The Treesleepers’ are as good a bet as any to put a soundtrack to that.
21 Hookers is a bass-heavy elegy for the modern loser, with LJ asking, “Is it the girl. Is it the generation?” that’s to blame for the murky morals of instant gratification and its resulting, remorseful hangover. Darker Fate is somewhat gentler, but no less melancholic, a song with themes of isolation and despair cushioned by a toe-tapping beat and strangely defiant vocals. “Now that I have started running, I can never stop to rest,” sings LJ, in a tone more rebellious than hopeless; I can see this song making sense to a lot of us . Getting Stupid is the catchiest of the lot, a sarcastic but self-deprecating tale which makes you wonder whether LJ’s acknowledging a chip on her shoulder, or painting it on as an acerbic joke on the rest of us. Hard partying, hard living, and hard repentance are the themes of the day, and not a misty-eyed ballad or a fluffy chorus to be found. There’s a refreshing take-it-or-leave it kind of buzz to LJ & The Treesleepers. Upfront. Unaffected. Goes well with whiskey and a sneer.
Phantasmagoria is a solid beginning from a band very raw and real. Catch ‘em live if you can.