ABQ – Neon (2020)

Four Irish lads sat about in their London apartment strumming some guitars and writing music. What do you have? Possibly a few bands but the indie-rock quartet ABQ passed by our desk. An Irish band with a unique sound who have met and exceeded industry standards. In fact, they’ve set a few standards themselves to which other bands should aspire.

Formed in 2018, ABQ has focused on gigging to increase their presence; however, it’s not only the energetic performances that separate them from other groups on the indie-rock circuit. Over the past two years, they have been building up a catalogue of singles to be released throughout this year. Working with high-profile writers and producers, such as Mats Valentin (Carpark North) and Ben Mark (Take That, Mark Owen), ABQ is refining their sound and boosting their status. Great and all, but what about the singles?

‘Neon’ is the latest offering from this foursome released in February after the highly successful ‘Edge of the Earth’. Produced at Dead Street Studios with Charlie Russell (The Strypes, Kasabian), ‘Neon’ is sure to be anthemic from a recording perspective. Don’t worry, it’s as amazing from a listener’s perspective as well.

Evolving from their previous tracks, ‘Neon’ is a more experimental project with a slower and more ambient approach. Strongly reminiscent of Bombay Bicycle Club with a pinch of The 1975, this track is one that will have fans singing along in a sold-out stadium. Using his distinctive and intense vocals, Paul Shevlin makes the band addictive. Immerse his Tyson Ritter-esque vocals with the skilled instrumentation of Adam Devenney, Kit Grier and James Pollock, and you have a combination to rival The All American Rejects (among others).

The concept of the track is an examination of following a “gut feeling” and taking that proverbial road less travelled among people who follow the mainstream. The sign of a capable artist is their ability to correlate the lyrics with the melody and take the listener on a musical journey. The strong bass, drums and sweeping guitar riffs (all combined with Shevlin’s vocals) is a symphonic representation of weariness, devastation and ultimately pure joy when reaching their goal.

I listen to all submissions several times over to analyse them. Some take time to warm to, but ABQ’s ‘Neon’ is an instant hit for me. Catchy, compelling and passionate, it won’t be long until these lads share the stage with Bombay Bicycle Club.

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