AMONG the joys of covering a city’s arts scene is the sense of coming full-circle every couple of years, as one wave of artists propagates its influence over the cultural landscape, picking up where their forebears left off, and eventually coming to be regarded by another group of up-and-comers down the line. In the context of Cork city, that narrative is everywhere, as exhibitions and panels have drawn ample connection between the post-punk and indie scenes of old and today’s sprawl of musical microcosms. The connection can be conclusively seen in the work and stage presence of the current crop of younger musicians. Enter power trio The Love Buzz, possessed of an accessible, pop-laden punk that doesn’t shy away from a weirdness shared, to different extents, with contemporaries like Pretty Happy.
The band’s first extended-player under the pseudonym comes after a brace of early singles under a previous moniker. The cross-generational connection influenced the writing and recording processes, says bassist Aidan Lynch. “We wanted to make a mix of songs: a romantic song, a dance song, etc. We wanted to explore different moods. We recorded with Chris Somers (OneChanceOut studios, Elastic Sleep, African Fiction, etc.), who recorded the new Gilbert (Cork prog-rockers) album, as well. He was a fantastic guy to work with; he was very accommodating. We weren’t afraid to step out of our box, and step away from what we do live, as well, and he was very hands-on, as well. He has a couple of tracks on the songs he laid down himself. He was very helpful, before going in; you don’t want to rush things; you want to get things right. He was very genuine and kind. We got to peel apart songs, find out what we like about them, and learn how to control emotions, via sound.”
The Love Buzz’s members were part of the swell in recent years of younger musicians and personalities in the city’s musical ranks, and witnessed their peers progress their bodies of work with the kind of industriousness that only DIY music can extricate from people’s depths.
“(Short-lived indie act) Dry-Roasted Peanuts were a big help at the start. We didn’t know what we were doing at the start, but because we had friends in music, and already handling their own gigs, we were able to get support slots and get our name out there, fairly fast. There were moments when we thought we were class, and we probably weren’t. It took a little bit to get a grip on what makes us ‘us’, and get a handle on that balance,” says Lynch.
Having recently had a run under the name ‘The Sl*t Club’, the decision for the band to rename was prescient, given they had formed and started gigging just before the onset of #MeToo, and the social/attitudinal change that has resulted. Acknowledging the power of language as it pertains to lived experience, the shift to ‘The Love Buzz’ is a lateral move, thematically. It’s also less of a reference to Shocking Blue and Nirvana, and more to their own internal monologue, apparently.
“It refers to love more. To love itself, and the buzz that goes with it, like. Nobody spoke to us about it (but we saw reaction from a few people), and we took it onboard. It was like taking off our training wheels. The name was fun, but it’s not for today, really. The band is about freedom, but it was a weird message to convey in today’s society. The response was grand. Positive overall, a couple of people saying, ‘about time’. A couple of people don’t like it, but, y’know what? Start your own band.”
Over the course of the summer, the band have been casting their net somewhat wider, with their first trip to London, a pre-Brexit excursion that was as much a learning process personally as it was a professional outing.
“It was fantastic. We got to meet Ian Dury’s son, Bill Dury, who was MCing for the night, at the Unicorn in Camden. Camden is a lovely place. We rocked out, they loved it, and we loved it. It feels like it went down well.”
Tonight (August 8) sees the trio playing the Poor Relation, as part of the supporting lineup for South African agents provocateurs The SoapGirls, following their summertime gig last year at the same venue.
Sharing the billing with the Audible Joes, the Love Buzz are effervescent in their praise for the Parnell Place venue.
“It’s a good venue, great spot, good stage. It’s very social; there’s no constrictions on what you have to do. It’s the best pub venue there is in the city.”
The Love Buzz play The Poor Relation tonight (Thursday), in support of SoapGirls. Kick-off at 8.30pm, and door tax is €7. The band’s as-yet untitled EP launches with a headline gig at Dali, on Carey’s Lane, on September 11th. Find the band on social media for more information.