Review of first single Dave from new album Pretending to Wake Up


So many of the great songs are built  around a fab bassline - rumbling  along with the drums before the  singing starts and the guitars come 
crashing in – we’re beginning to thinks it’s some kind of formula for  how to rock. The Pixies were adroit  at letting Kim Deal pull the strings 
before the guys blew up around her,  Jack White has been known to lead  w i t h a  bassline on occasion and even the Dead K e n n e d y s  used these moments to appear even more sinister than perhaps they were. A n d  w h i l e these guys all rocked, and some, they were never formulaic. So it is with Jim McHugh’s new single, a belter which seems to borrow elements from all these greats and more before spewing out something that is entirely his own. Dave has an almost industrial feel to it, Butch McNeill’s pounding drums - already nodding to Fugazi -augmented by little dings and rimshots over that menacing bassline by Paul McCabe. It all builds to a menace in this, as Jim puts it, “original story of misspent youth. Dave unveils my interactions with a friend who was known for being on the wrong side of the law on numerous occasions”. And Jim’s voice, a fine instrument in itself, seems to shift from role of whispering confidant to collaborator just as he allows himself to soar and Paul Sherry’s guitars crank up the angst. It’s a neat trick, this juxtaposition, and Jim uses it at all the right moments. 
So, an unformulaic formula for rock, then, and once it again it works. Dave is released on February 5 and album Pretending To Wake Up is out in May. BRENDAN McKEOWN & MARK WHYTE