FONDA are the sound of power pop having grown older and that bit more cynical: imagine Big Star replacing tickets to the dance with overpriced bars and the inevitable morning-after introspection. There’s a sense of displacement and longing that characterises the band’s music, a possible result of the group’s varying backgrounds, with band members Liam O’Connor, Laura Kelly and Patrick Burke hailing from Limerick, Galway and Glasgow respectively.
The trio have been performing together since 2015, releasing debut EP Social Services that August. It’s four songs tackled everyday ennui with assured understatement, both in O’Connor’s lyrics and baritone delivery, and in the band’s lo-fi assault, with So Cow’s Brian Kelly assisting the EP’s unfussy production. Possessing a flair for mixing ragged, fuzzy guitars with pop melodies and emotional sincerity, at it’s best the band occupy a rare sweet spot between The National, The Lemonheads and Pavement.
Having been busy on the live scene, playing dates with the likes of Slow Riot and LA’s Gun Outfit, FONDA are a band perfect for 3am post-gig soul searching too. This is clearer than ever on latest single ‘Dreaming’. O’Connor is at his most Bernigeresque, his heartfelt croon riding over an infectious melody, with bassist Kelly adding warm vocal harmonies as the track reaches an uplifting climax. It’s a low-key instant classic that demands repeated listens and is the band’s finest moment to date. If it’s indicative of the quality of the other three tracks on their forthcoming second EP, it’s shaping up to being one of the most exciting Irish releases of the year. Caolan Coleman