Terriers – ‘Let’s Hear It For The Boys’ | Track by Track

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Let’s Hear It For The Boys is out now.

John Peel once said, “If something has me confused, I want to play it on the radio.” This should also be Overblown’s motto. We love being confronted with something we can’t quite figure out. It could be Girl Band and their rather unsettling approach to song structure and instrumentation or Zeal and Ardor and their combination of gospel music and black metal. Whatever it is, we embrace the confusion.

This brings us to Cork based post hardcore quartet Terriers. Now, I say post-hardcore, but they are only post-hardcore in the broadest of terms. They also jam lo-fi sensibilities, noise rock detours, alternative rock melodies, and post rock touches into their nine track debut album Let’s Hear It For The Boys. It’s quite a ride.

We had the good fortune to have a bit of a chat with Ian O’Callaghan (vocals/bass) about the story behind each track on the album. Expect homophobic aliens, salty cabbies, and being hungover as fuck.

Lets Hear It For The Boys

I can’t offer much in the way of an explanation for the title, other than our other ideas were just too ridiculous to use and myself and Jimmy (Grace – drums) had to try to convince Seb (O’Sullivan – guitar/vocals) and Cian (O’Callaghan – guitar) not to use an insanely offensive one. So in lieu of an explanation, I’ll just give you a list of some of the milder options we had.

Grease 3, Greece 3, Flowers From The Greece Tree, Shakespeare’s Cunt, The Matador’s New Pussy, Boutros Boutros Boutros Ghali, Heat : The Album, Oscar Wilde Was A Drama Queen, Songs To Shit To, The Essential Brown Notes, Alpha Charlie Tango Tango Pussy, The Bible 2, Terriers To The Corinthians, Terriers Live From The Hammersmith ’72, Stephen Hawkings Supermarket Sweep, Slaying Cain: The Mark Of Terriers, Inspiration Menstruation, Egypt’s Third Moon, Sockgaze, Gary Ruby: Ultimate Hour, Montenotte Milfs, A Very Brady Orgy, No Boom Boom Before Big Fight, Sexless Thursdays, The Secret Life Of Revolver X, Terriers Live From Paris France, Terriers Live From Paris Texas, Terriers Live From Egypt’s Third Moon, Pink Cobra, Mr Pink And The Cobra Tickles, Intestinal Dreams, If Steely Dan Were Shit, Labian Nights, The Detectives Hunch, When Love Bites Back, Dr T And The Women.

It got a lot worse than that but I can’t get in too much trouble for those ones.

1. ‘Paul’s Laughter’

I’ve asked Seb so many times what it’s about and he always says the same thing, “the nature of change”. I think it’s about him battling with his own sexuality. It’s my favourite title of all the songs on the album. While we were writing the song the guys got a cab to jamming off a cab driver in a particularly salty mood. His name was Paul Slaughter which is such a badass name and the original name of the song.

This was definitely us trying to purposely write a heavier song than usual, something to start the set with a bang. Something to weed out the hipsters who are just there to see Cian topless. As far as I remember it was the first song we wrote with Jimmy, we knew he was really solid because he picked up the older songs so quickly but we were from a much heavier musical background than him, playing in grindcore and hardcore bands for the bones of a decade. Any questions we had were knocked on the head after writing this tune though. He can beat the shit out of a kit in fairness to him.

2. ‘We’re Coming To Save You’

The lyrics from this song came about when we were talking about sci-fi films over a few cans. We came up with the idea of being out late at night and the four of us coming across an alien ship after crashing just outside the city. We befriend the alien travelling inside and take him out on the town to show him a good time. He’s a bit down in the dumps because he wants to get home to his family and his ship is destroyed.

As the night goes on, it becomes apparent that this alien lad is actually dying without the protective ectoplasm that he had in his ship. The closest thing on earth to this ectoplasm is human semen so we offer to fill a bathtub full of it to save his life but he comes from a deeply homophobic planet so the song is about the choice he has to make.

We almost made a music video for this, I’m so fucking glad that we didn’t.

3. ‘Kindling’

‘Kindling’ probably took the longest to write, we kind of hit a brick wall trying to decide where to go coming out of the quiet bit in the middle and tried a lot of new styles that we hadn’t messed with before. None of them worked and we shelved it for a few weeks before just going back to our roots with the second half of the song, aggressive melodic riff/solo/some shouting/end.

We wrote ‘Kindling’ about the same time that this internet dating app boom happened. Seb wrote all the lyrics and I think he was finding it hard to understand how I was meeting attractive women despite having the appearance of a garden gnome. It questions the validity of these relationships and if they were in fact making me depressed. Of course they weren’t but it made him feel better about being in a long term relationship so it’s all good.

4. ‘Pilgrim’

Cian and myself were actually jamming this riff and vocal line with a few different guys with the view of starting another heavy band in the vein of our old band Fat Actress but Cian jammed it out with Seb and Jimmy and it took on a whole different vibe.

I wrote the lyrics around the time that a close family member had died. It was my first time being around death and more importantly the acceptance of death in the final few weeks. It’s terrifying and kind of beautiful in it’s own way. I told the lads it was about my dog getting sick from eating turkey skin in an attempt to keep the mood light.

5. ‘Clean My Bones’

We were really surprised at what a crazy response this song got, it’s by far the most basic structure and the easiest to play by a long shot. There’s probably a lesson in that.

We really wanted to get Dan Breen from Hope Is Noise on the album and this seemed like the obvious song for him to sing. I think part of what people like about us might be the conviction in our performance but we’ll never come close to the honesty of Breen’s performance, in everything he’s ever done. If he turns to you and tells you he’s hungry, then you’re like FUCK, THIS DUDE’S HUNGRY. There’s nothing contrived about it and I love that in a singer.

Seb wrote the majority of the lyrics, it’s about being hungover as fuck and just wanting someone to come over and tell you that you’re not a complete piece of shit. It’s something that most of us need on a weekly basis.

6. ‘I Beat Him Before, I Beat Him Again’

This is my favourite song on the album. We had a different version of it on our EP but we were never happy with it. Specially because it started with this waltzing riff and we realised after releasing it that we had lifted the riff straight off the first Minus The Bear album. It was much slower too, which made the end quite boring instead of the big anthemic outro that we originally had in our heads. This new version came together really quickly and easily. We had been playing it for so long that we all had ideas of how to improve it, so it was just a matter of picking and choosing which ones of them worked best.

It’s about new beginnings and not being ashamed to lean on your family and friends a little in pursuit of making a change for the better… Or something like that.

7. ‘Urns’

‘Urns’ is about time being an absolute piece of shit but trying to find silver linings. Seb wrote it in the same week that a friend of his had a family member pass away and some friends of ours had their first kid.

We only had one song in the works at the time so ideas from both of those things got shoved in there. Originally we wanted every song on the album to be about life and death but somewhere along the way we got obsessed with ejaculating on homophobic aliens.

8. ‘Get Over Here’

This one was also on the EP but we were never happy with it. We liked the intro but it went in to this bullshit disco pop thing at the end with clean vocals that just didn’t fit our sound at all. It’s about our old drummer getting kicked out of a pub for trying to play Pac-Man with his feet.

We dirtied up the end and added that Fall Of Troy inspired transition in the middle and then Cian added that nice slide guitar lead over the top that takes away from the harshness of the dirty bass and Seb screaming.

9. ‘Amateur Hour, The Very Best Of Citizen Lake.’

We came at this song after the rest of the album was written with the aim of writing a 15 minute song to put at the end of the album. The original idea was to just have a very long slow heavy fade out but as we were writing it we just kept coming up with more riffs and sections. We ended up keeping 4 of those bits. ‘Greece Tree’, ‘Creeper’, ‘Communion Lunch’ and ‘Creeper Reprise’.

‘Communion Lunch’ is my favourite part of the whole album, I play that riff every time I pick up an instrument and I really love Seb’s vocals on it. It reminds me of so many old school screamo bands, always slightly too many syllables to be catchy. Which I always loved, it gives the feeling that the message in the song is more important than the melody. Much like ‘Paul’s Laughter’, this one is about Seb’s sexuality. It’s about his first time falling in love with a man after years of having relationships with women. Jimmy usually lays down a really solid beat for us to follow but with this one he really lets loose and accents almost every part of the riff, so probably more than any other part on the album it has that feeling of the four of us playing in communion with each other. I can’t help but grin like an idiot when we play that part live.

In ‘Creeper Reprise’, we wanted to bring back every riff so far in the song, or at least versions of them and have Cian write a solo that continued over all of them in the style of old school trash bands. We were afraid if we didn’t reference earlier riffs at this point that the song might have just felt like a bunch of ideas thrown together.

We were originally meant to record the album 2 months earlier but had scheduling conflicts. Eamonn Coleman cut us a deal and didn’t charge us any extra for recording and mixing at a later date if he could have a solo on the album, so he threw in a ludicrously heavy one just after Cian’s, starting from the dive bomb. We didn’t make the full 15 but we weren’t far off.

Grab the album via Bandcamp.

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