Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 2 October 2014

'We want to make music that makes people feel like they've never felt before'

Trio head for the top

FANCY a threesome with a precocious musical talent to match their attitude and youthful arrogance?

FANCY a threesome with a precocious musical talent to match their attitude and youthful arrogance?

Then look no further than the mysteriously-named rock trio, JJ72 who play three Ulster shows in Jordanstown; Londonderry and Belfast this week.

This new Irish band - Mark Greaney, Hillary Woods and drummer Feargal Matthews - are all teenagers, fresh from leaving school in the summer of 99.

But like Ulster's own musically magnificent 'enfants terribles', Ash, these young Dubliners are hardly green when it comes to stoking up a fiery furnace of incendiary rock.

Since the Jesuit educated Greaney and Matthews, and first time bassist, Woods sent a demo tape to the media in early 99, even hardened hacks rubbed their ears in disbelief.

With influences ranging from the spluttering rock rage of Nirvana to the desolate pop drama of A-ha, JJ72 were never in danger of being pigeonholed.

And when their debut single, October Swimmer was released last November, it was the calling card of a band mature beyond their years.

That song established the JJ72 terrain - gentle, acoustic guitar-strummed verses blitzed by a chorus of explosive, blazing rock.

The quality of the songs - highlighted on their awesome Top 20 debut album - is undeniable.

There's the ferocious heavy metal riffing of Undercover Angel and the breathless brilliance of Oxygen for starters.

But it's the astonishing vocal dexterity of Greaney - with tinges of choirboy Thom, a malignant Molko and a furious Kurt - which provides that intangible touch of magic to the JJ72 mix.

He said recently: "Our formula is the same as a lot of other bands. But we do it a 100 times better.

And with the arrogance of youth, he added: "We want to make music that makes people feel like they've never felt before."

Time will tell whether JJ72 are more than just a one man band dependent on Greaney's astute, assured writing and searing, soaring vocals.

But in the meantime, this lot's actions are already seriously close to speaking as loudly as their confident words.

n JJ72 play the University Of Ulster, Jordanstown on Thursday, the Nerve Centre, Londonderry (Friday) and the Limelight Club, Belfast (Saturday).

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