Hat on the Sun – The Dandy Horses

Based in Belfast, The Dandy Horses summon the spirit of early Fleetwood Mac and Sandy Denny era Fairport Convention and look set to ride off into the sunset.

Opening with ‘Driving Towards Blue Skies’ it is clear from the start that is going to be a good collection of songs. With its pop/country feel ‘Driving Towards Blue Skies’ could easily sit comfortably on any Buckingham/Nicks era 70s Fleetwood Mac album, and there’s even a hint of The Eagles in there (but we won’t hold that against them). The song is a wonderful up tempo harmonic tale of deliverance out of the dark towards the light, and really showcases the writing and musical talent in the band from the outset.

‘Fighting Fires’ continues the theme of positivity delivered in the opening song and we are urged in the opening line to “leave your troubles at the door”. The message to the listener is simple yet effective. No matter how bad the circumstances are there’s more to life than crying and lost battles, all you need to do is surrender your heart to your loved ones and they’ll see you through. This song is slower in tempo and there’s a haunting tin whistle solo that makes the hairs stand up on the back of the listener’s neck.

‘Don’t Ask’ is in a more folky vein; a song of individualism. Buried underneath the sweet harmonies is a battle cry against conformity and almost has the feel of an early Sandy Denny era Fairport Convention song about it. Up until now we’ve been treated to the haunting vocal talents of Joanne Cassidy and Noleen Cosgrove, but on ‘My Heart Goes Boom’ they boys in the band get a go. Sean Quinn steps up to the plate on this one and once again it take us back to that 70’s era Fleetwood Mac sound. In particular ‘Tusk’ springs to mind. It’s all big drum beats, whistles and group harmonies all mixed together to deliver a bombastic end to the EP and we can imagine this raising the roof at the end of a live set and being a crowd pleaser for many years to come.

Based in Belfast this five piece band consist of Joanne Cassidy (vocals/guitar/tin whistles/banjo), Noeleen Cosgrove (vocals, guitar, fiddle, banjo), Sean Quinn (vocals/mandolin/bouzouki/banjo), Rodney McKinney (double bass) and Marty Malone (drums). Hope and reassurance. Battle cries against conformity. Searing harmonies and musicians playing at their best all combine to make this release something special and we wholeheartedly recommend you check these guys out soon.

With BBC6 Music’s Tom Robinson giving them airplay you know you’ve discovered a band that are going to be around for while and keep on delivering.