Armagh’s Gascan Ruckus are long overdue their time in the sun having spent the better part of a decade honing their skills and carving out their place in the scene. Operating in the same range as Fighting With Wire, Twin Atlantic or Dinosaur Pile-Up and a live show that beggars belief, the group has long been teetering on the brink of mainstream acceptance. With their debut album, Narrow Defeats and Bitter Victories, they’re primed and ready to be pushed into the spotlight.
Among the record’s stronger cuts are songs such as the PigsAsPeople inspired ‘Goodbye’ or the mammoth riff of ‘Swimming’ and ‘Down The Line’. But it is in the Color and Shape era Foo Fighters-esqe of ‘Fuck This’ that the disc offers it’s brightest shining moment. With angst ridden lyrics of dissatisfaction and the emotional toll of the 9-5 office life, the track has this welcome snottiness and youthful verve that carries it’s ropier moments. This comes in the form of the aforementioned Foo Fighters inspired musicality as well as howled gang vocals in the final movement which one can easily imagine sending the crowds into a flurry. Sadly though, while never outright bad, the record is a one trick pony. Over its eleven tracks, no song ever ventures from the formula that Kerbdog or post-Puzzle Biffy Clyro has laid out: loud-quiet-loud with an anthemic chorus thrown in for good measure. While that can be exhilarating every now and then, every song can’t be an anthem and after forty minutes the stain of following this formula so rigidly begins to show.
While their debut LP may not be the sledgehammer needed to smash into the Radio One charts, it still acts a decent introduction to the group and is a solid package for fans of the genre. Will Murphy