This is a short review I did of two fantastic bands in The Attic in Dublin, where I went as much as I could. I used the opening paragraph of this piece as an introduction in sleeve notes for You Never See The Stars When It Rains, the 2021 Wormhole anthology pictured below. I have regretted for some time (25 years?) the daft bit about breaking guitars. I own YNSTSWIR on vinyl, as in the picture below, and might have to pop it on as soon as I finish this paragraph. Niall McCormack, the singer with Jubilee, who later became Jubilee Allstars, was a hugely talented art director in Hot Press at the time. He’s still a hugely talented visual artist. I interviewed him as Jubilee lead, around the same time as this show, on our break from a Hot Press production Sunday. I grilled him over two pints in the Bankers, the pub next door to the Trinity St HP office. I still have a couple of early 7 inch singles of theirs. I will pop them on after Wormhole.
WORMHOLE/JUBILEE (The Attic, Dublin)
NOW IS as exciting a time to be a rock’n’roll fan in Dublin as I can remember. No longer do you have to wish that you’d been aware of the existence of the Underground a decade ago; everywhere you look, these days, there’s another crowd of lo-fi misfits getting it together to borrow or steal distortion pedals and to promise as fantastic a few months as that legendary summer of ‘85.
Jubilee are Wormhole’s favourite Irish group. They remind me too of some of my favourite groups; their quietly self-hating and magnificent ‘Better Than I Know Myself’ has both the should-you-be-telling-us-this vibe and the feeling that they’re only just holding it together that I associate with Sebadoh and, not wishing to crush their shoulders with such a hefty comparison at this early stage, the mighty Palace Brothers. They have a long way to go, but they’ll get there.
Wormhole may be there already. They stride on, not a scar between them, which doubtless explains the lack of digging by chicks that I’d imagine fuels their very loud pop music. Theirs is, like many groups, a wall of noise, on top of which they stick and under which they hide many things of beauty.
Dave, with his driven drumming and vocal asides that range from honey-sweet harmonies to piercing, shrill howls, is massively rock’n’roll, while Graham supplies the melancholia with his Corgan-resembling strums and sometimes gravelly, tired vocals (He also recalls Mark E. Smith, but we’ll let that pass.) He knows feedback, too, though, and he even attempts to trash his guitar but then remembers how little he can afford to – the only downer of the evening. Don’t start something you can’t finish, would-be rock’n’roll anarchists: it makes your chaos look calculated, and that’s never good.
Hooks, the stuff of which pop dreams are made, are everywhere in Wormhole’s music. The “Ah-roo do do do doo-doo” of ‘12AM’, the ominous groove of ‘Leave The Blanket In’, every riff, every bassline. Their lust for life and music is inspiring, so that even their closing fifteen-minute wankout leaves you standing on the edge of your seat, if you got there early enough to have one (the Attic was crammed).
They alone are a reason why Puppy Love Bomb’s once-accurate slogan has to be binned. In 1995, Dublin’s still alive.