EP Premiere: Bouts – Unlearn


Self-described as a “pop-grunge noise rock band with an inherent, unashamed attachment to big pop hooks” Dublin indie rock quartet Bouts have well and truly lived up to that explication over the last few years. Having fully arrived with their stupendous debut album Nothing Good Gets Away back in 2013, today marks the release of a five-track EP that sees their craft as downright convincing as ever, in spite of two members living overseas.

Recorded at various points in 2015, at no point during the process where all members present together – a fact that both underlines the studio efforts of John Murphy and Shane Cullen, as well as the band’s innate ability to sound cohesive and very much together.

Speaking about the significance of the album title, guitarist/vocalist Barry Bracken said, “It references renewal. We went through a process of stripping away all we thought we knew and writing less densely but writing better. We wanted more concentrated versions of songs. Tighter and leaner. I think unconsciously at some level we all wanted to go in a simpler direction. You can only do this by applying what you know and then stripping it all away.”


Headed by lead single ‘Missteps’ and culminating on highlight ‘We Don’t Stand a Chance’, there’s a strong sense of comradeship strewn throughout the EP, which imbues each track’s earworming twists and turns with a palpable (and very palatable) sense of a do-or-die, now-or-never spirit. “There’s perhaps an emphasis on togetherness,” Bracken said. “In hindsight looking back at the tracks now it seems to have seeped through which is fitting given how we decided to continue making music together despite our “geographic imperfection”.”

Unlearn is available to buy now on limited edition yellow cassette, which comes with a download code. Go here to buy your copy and have an exclusive first listen to the EP below.

is the editor of The Thin Air. Talk to him about Philip Glass and/or follow him on Twitter @brianconey.