Leeds Music Scene

Start of the Mile by Daghdha

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Reviewed on 22nd February 2004.

 
 

Start of the Mile

By Daghdha

This band will be big.

When trawling through the thriving yet generally unimaginative Leeds scene, dominated as it is by generic pop-punk and the occasional 'innovative' ska movement, it's a relief to chance upon something a bit different. Daghdha, a young and upcoming Irish-influenced five-piece, are definitely that: despite being clearly inspired by a variety of previous bands, the blend of musical styles is something very rarely heard in the music underground today.

Debut release Start of the Mile, recorded and released by the band itself, is a fairly short album, at only six tracks and less than twenty minutes play time. Still, it's a clear indication of things to come. Daghdha label their style as 'folk-punk'; a more accurate description would probably be 'aggressive folk-rock'. The strong punk influences don't really stem far past their inventive cover of The Clash's famous London Calling, but some subtle undertones do flow throughout.

Daghdha's speciality, as demonstrated by Start of the Mile, is taking existing songs and putting their own twist on them - indeed, the vast majority of the record comprises covers of one form or another. Track two is a faithful homage to The Clash: London Calling keeps its unique feel, but is effectively 'Daghdhified' by Simon Barr's excellent violin lead. Half way through the CD, a gorgeous rendition of Waltzing Matilda kicks in; anyone that doesn't find themselves screaming "Waltzing Matilda, WALTZING MATILDA" at the top of their voice after listening must have some sort of problem. It's sublime.

The individual musicians are clearly talented, with some decent work from each and every band member at some point, but Daghdha are more about the overall sound. It's reminiscent of a kind of heavier Pogues, with grizzly, distorted guitars making way for cheerful jig-esque violin work. It's not a particularly varied recording, but the consistent style is more than a little unique.

Start of the Mile is true to its name in a number of ways. It's not technically the best album ever. Some of the levels seem a little dubious, and at times you begin to wonder whether Tom King's vocals really are meant to have a 'folk charm', or whether he just isn't a very good singer. Moreover, some tracks don't have much of a structure, and revolve around the standard verse-chorus-verse-chorus format.

However, if there's one thing to take from this charming EP, it's that this really is the start of the mile for Daghdha. In such tedious times, a breath of fresh air like this is certain to do well. Watch out for this lot. You'll be seeing more of them.

 

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On 22nd February 2004 at 18:06 Anonymous 13 wrote...

"generally unimaginative Leeds scene, dominated as it is by generic pop-punk and the occasional 'innovative' ska movement" Lewis - good to see some new talent on the writing front! Get yourself out to the Cardigan Arms, The Adelphi, The Packhorse, Brudenell Social Club, The Vine (and others) There is plenty of avant garde/ecelctic/different music going on. Maybe it doesn't shout loud, but it's deinitely there to be found! Try Deerpark tonight at Joseph's Well for example.

 

On 22nd February 2004 at 20:40 Anonymous 1200 wrote...

"generally unimaginative Leeds scene, dominated as it is by generic pop-punk and the occasional 'innovative' ska movement"

You do the record you reviwed a deep injustice: as soon as I read this sentence I didn't bother with the rest of the review. Save your private gripes about the scene for your mates down the pub. This is LEEDMUSICSCENE.co.uk, you dummy.

 

On 22nd February 2004 at 22:35 Anonymous 1279 wrote...

performingchimp: Well, you pretty much contradict yourself within your first sentence. I do the record injustice how exactly? Bearing in mind you didn't read the full article.

Look, the Leeds scene is overrated. I've been in and around it, both performing and watching, for a good few years now, and all I ever see - with a few noteable exceptions, including Daghdha - is unimaginitive bollocks. Yeah, some bands do it pretty well. But so what? What's adequacy in a world as harsh as the music industry?

Just my two pence, anyway. You're quite entitled to your views. It's just a bit annoying to see someone dismiss mine before even reading all of them.

Sam: why thank you, although this is by no means the best piece I've written. In fact, I've only been in music journalism for an incey while, so I've a lot to learn.

Deerpark: yeah, I've heard about them. Yet to see them play, however. I'll take your word for it about the 'different' music, though as I said to the other guy, I've yet to come across it passively.

 

On 22nd February 2004 at 22:42 Anonymous 1279 wrote...

Second thoughts... performingchimp: I'm actually honoured that you assume I have friends.

 

On 23rd February 2004 at 11:56 Anonymous 1200 wrote...

I don't understand why you would be so negative about the music scene on it's own official website. I've been in the scene here for a few years too, and I virtually never see pop-punk or ska bands, despite going to 2-3 gigs every week. If you want to see some different music, go to some different gigs. You judge the scene when you clearly haven't even noticed 75% of it. E.g. Come see me play at Doctor Wu's on March 6th, 3.30pm; make yourself known and I'll buy you a pint. Then you can go piss in your OWN beer, instead of everyone else's.

 

On 23rd February 2004 at 13:09 Dave LMS wrote...

"about the music scene on it's own official website"

 

On 23rd February 2004 at 15:47 Anonymous 1279 wrote...

I'm really not trying to be overly negative about the scene; I believe my point's been slightly missed. That comment was only really included to show how refreshing Dadgha are.

If I turn up, I might just take you up on that drink...

 
 
 

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