Although The Irascibles are a new band there is no escaping the importance that history plays in their story. Both in terms of their own history, but also the influence that musical forms such as Delta Blues and World Music have had upon them.
The band consist of brothers Phil & Drew Moxham and singer Nick Lewis. Working in and around the Cardiff music scene since the late 1970s it seems that almost every important Cardiff DIY band of the past 3 decades has featured at least one of their members. Phil Moxham is best known as a member of the hugely influential post punk band the Young Marble Giants (YMG) fans of which included Kurt Cobain & REM’s Peter Buck. After the split Phil continued working with singer Alison Statton and formed ‘Weekend’. Like YMG the band were signed to Rough Trade and their first album ‘La Variete’ has been cited as a major influence on bands such as the Sundays and Belle & Sebastian.
“I also did some work with David Thomas of Pere Ubu and I played with Everything But the Girl for a year. That helped pay off my tax bill!”
Drew Moxham also played in several near legendary Cardiff bands such as the Howling Sleepers and ‘Bomb & Dagger - described by Spike from the band as ‘a kind of Bolshevik dance band drawing heavily on African influences’.
Singer and guitarist Nick Lewis played in the nearly made it and highly respected band The Clementines and spent time working as a musician in London in the 1990s. However, at the back of his mind there was always a feeling that he should head back to Wales.
“There was always this tug to come back to Cardiff. There was always a nagging doubt that I should be here playing music”.
Despite their disparate musical paths when the 3 finally jammed together something clicked.
“The three of us played together about 9 years ago and we hit on things and there were sparks. Our music is crossed with British beat music, post punk and delta blues. Phil & Drew are aficionados of African & Cuban music. We are trying to get a blend of that. We are beginning to get our own ‘groove’. We want to be a really good British beat group and as a 3 piece there is a tension that you just don’t get with bigger line ups.
The band has so far only made a few tracks available via their myspace such as ‘Gasoline’ but already response has been positive.
“The Victorian English Gentlemen’s Club sent us a very nice message which is really encouraging.”
The band is due to start recording shortly but are keen to keep things simple and raw:
It’s a bit like the Kingsmen and their track ‘Louie Louie’. That was recorded in 30 minutes and they had the bottle to release it as it was. We want to keep the spontaneity of that. Our history is a blessing and a curse but it is nice that there is some interest at this early stage. It seems like we are all coming back out of the rocks. You have to go away to write stuff and develop your ideas and that takes time.
As a final thought the band suggested:
“If in doubt - Hank Williams. He is our guru. He is the voice of God!”
The Irascibles are growing and developing a unique sound that is the culmination of the lifetime work, experience and inspiration of three gifted musicians. These are early days but already sparks are indeed flying and they look set to make a significant impact in 2010.