James Waygood reviews The Irrepressibles’s ethereal and theatrical new single from their album ‘Mirror Mirror’.
Described as an ‘art-pop orchestra’ The Irrepressibles appear similar to artists like Final Fantasy/Owen Pallett, The Divine Comedy, and Arcade Fire – using intricate neo-classical orchestral scoring to add an extra dimension to the music’s timbre. However, in execution The Irrepressibles are definitively original and stand out from a lot of other bands on the alternative music scene.
‘In This Shirt’ is their first single release from their debut studio album, Mirror Mirror, which was released way back in January 2010. The band has already garnered a following, including La John Joseph, and the track has been used for several YouTube videos, including PAG’s artsy, sexy, and homoerotic The Lady Is Dead (see below – probably not one to watch in the office!), directed by Roy Raz, and used in Shelley Love’s unnerving and atmospheric The Forgotten Circus.
The track itself is brimming with a sense of grandeur and theatre. It starts off with a slow and solemn organ, but then crescendos and builds to a dramatic climax filled with crowing woodwinds and cascading string riffs. McDermott’s voice is incredibly rich and unique, with a shrill vibrato in his higher register, but also a dulcet and sultry sound in the lower.
The lyrics are simple yet affecting, bringing an uncomplicated sense of poetry to the ensemble’s flamboyant sound. The overall affect is something that is haunting, ethereal, and epic. It might take a listen or two to get used to the less-than-understated sense of identity which some may feel is a little too pretentious. But once you’re there the track really opens up into something quite wonderful.
The only problem with it is that the lyrics can be lost amid the powerful sound of the scoring, which really draws your attention more than anything else. However, the single includes a modest, bouncy, yet chilled-out remix by Hercules and Love Affair, in which you can really appreciate the words.
In This Shirt is released internationally on 8 August 2011 and will include remixes by Hercules and Love Affair, Röyksopp, and Zero 7. For more information about the band, including upcoming tour dates, visit www.theirrepressibles.com.