Few nations have a musical history as rich as that of Ireland. The oral tradition of the Emerald Isle has allowed tales and legends to survive for many years in the form of song.
Rebel hymns, bucolic scenes, and political numbers have been passed down from generation to generation, with modern acts often eager to show their roots by releasing an old classic.
Newer Irish music has seen many strong scenes develop, and the nation has a particular affinity for rock music. Over the past few decades Irish artists have become drummers of the world, touring stadiums and gaining fans across the globe, while others have remained smaller, with a smaller fan base but everything also devoted.
Here we’ll take Northern Ireland and the Republic as a whole, and the synonymous styles of the two countries are disparate. The north’s bigger exports often produce more work for the angry political side, while the Republic’s big hitters go for something softer or more universal.
This of course only scratches the surface of the best Irish bands – there is a ton of great stuff to explore.
The Derry-based Undertones formed and performed at a time of great conflict, as the Troubles raged in their hotly contested city. While other bands in their orbit channeled the fighting and chaos into their music, The Undertones went the other way, turning inward and creating some fantastic teen anthems as an escape.
The universal nature of this music was the main thing, and that’s what makes much of their work sound so fresh and relevant today. The big hit is of course “Teenage Kicks”, and while its lyrics are subject to an implied interpretation, its sweet punk guitars and perfectly sharp sense of desire mean it will be evergreen.
The band grew during their tenure, and while hits like “Here Comes The Summer” couldn’t last forever, their latest records, like the underrated “Sin Of Pride”, use the tension of the times. where they were recorded to create something whimsical and fascinating.