|Album Review: Gypsies On The Autobahn—Suspended|
Gypsies on the Autobahn
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When Gypsies on the Autobahn released their debut album Born Brief in 2017, I decided they were Ireland's best-kept secret. The album took twenty-five years to write, and despite its critical acclaim at the time, faded from prominence relatively soon after its release. On Friday, the Dublin four-piece released Suspended, their sophomore follow-up to Born Brief.
It's essentially my job to ensure that Gypsies don't remain Ireland's best-kept secret. Suspended is built on slow builds and swells, but it's lead singer James Smith's unique vocal that calls for immediate attention. Much of the album consists of the balance and juxtaposition between the band's punchy, 80's style rock instrumentation and Smith's delicate delivery. "Post-War" stands out as a slow burning track with a lilting Celtic melody and anthemic quality. The guitar-driven "Rubicon" uses an uptempo bass line to offset the refrain of "I know you know there's no point going on."
In an interview with District Magazine, Smith says that Born Brief was written for his brothers and other family members, to lift them up and give them hope in the face of difficult times. The lyrics on Suspended are considerably more introspective than those on Born Brief. In the same interview, Smith details that this second album was more for himself. "Make You Mine," the album's lead single, is the only track where washed guitar is replaced with piano. Positioned at the album's midpoint, this effect is sobering and intimate when coupled with its intense lyric. On Instagram, the band dedicated the album to "all our family and friends, without whom this would have been left to crumble with us." Yet, the band is far from crumbling. Suspended contains many of the same musical elements that made early U2 and The Cranberries great. If there is anything to criticize, it's that the concluding track "Never Forgot" falls slightly flat after the rest of the album.
In truth, Ireland's monopoly on superb lyricists and innovative musicians is nothing new. If Gypsies are Ireland's best-kept secret, Ireland is perhaps the music industry's best-kept secret. For decades now, Ireland has held on to some of the brightest talents. Suspended certainly feels as though it has nestled itself firmly within these ranks. It does, however, feel as though the current energy in the Irish music industry is reaching an impossibly high peak. If you aren't paying attention to the music (across all genres) coming out of Ireland, you're missing some of the best artists in the world, including Gypsies on the Autobahn.