Cruiser – ‘Cruiser’ | Track By Track

Cruiser

Cruiser’s self-titled debut LP is out now.

Sometimes you know from the very first guitar strum that you’re going to love a band. For me, that was certainly the case with Limerick alt-rock outfit Cruiser. The song was ‘Parma’, the album opener from their self-titled debut album. The whole track is awesome to be fair. Beginning with those rich chords I mentioned earlier, the song quickly heads into a mid tempo soar that recalls Smashing Pumpkins at their most effective, before segueing seamlessly into Husker Du inspired melodic alternative rock.

Then, I saw them live. And that was ferocious. Impassioned and cathartic, they tore the room apart with soaring fuzziness and melodic charm.

It is because of this that we had to find out the inspiration behind the record. We spoke to Ger Devine (Vocals/Guitar) and he spilt the beans about sending demos across oceans, long-distance love, and Gram Parsons tributes.

1PARMA

I originally wrote this song back in 2014/15 but struggled to bring it to the finish line until last year. It was a tough one to learn because there are a lot of different sections and the vocals get really high. In the end, I think it’s a track we all love playing and usually a highlight of the live show. We wanted to start the album with something that showcases a bunch of different styles of Cruiser so Parma was perfect for that.

2SPINE

Chris (the guitarist of the band) understands music theory on an astoundingly deep level. When he writes songs he tends to lean towards complex chords and interesting rhythms and textures. This is an example of Chris throwing all that out the window and just writing some good ‘ol rock & roll and boy does it bang. I think we nailed the tracking on the 2nd or 3rd take. The vocal is a 1 take jobber which is very rare for me.

3A NOTE

This song stands out on the album because, while it’s fast and heavy, it’s a lot more atmospheric and introspective than the other tracks. It’s the only song where I sing in my more natural lower register and the guitars are clean and chorus-y. The bridge section is one of my favourite moments on the album, purely for those triplet stops (the “Title Fight section” as Chris called it).

4GROWNAPART

I remember writing this back in 2015 during a week I spent on the couch dying of a sinus infection and asthma problems and binge-watching Arrested Development. I wanted to write a catchy tune but where all the vocals were yelled. I think I was listening to a lot of Fucked Up at the time. That’s ‘Grownapart’.

Besides a short-lived covers band that played 4 shows, Cruiser is the only band I’ve ever been in and I’m still very new to singing. I was very much still finding my voice at that time and had only recently learned how to do more aggressive vocals. This song was a big learning curve. As a band, I think its one of the tracks we’re most proud of. The recording really captures the kind of chaos we’re all about.

5THINGS WE’VE LEARNT

In the very early stages of the band when it was just a bedroom recording project, Chris went to live in Japan for a year. We would send each other demos of songs we were working on all the time. This one was a major focus for Chris and we always intended to get ‘round to doing it properly some day. It was the last song to be recorded for the album and seemed to be destined for exclusion from the final track listing as we were struggling to get a cohesive take and everyone was really burned out.

It all came together at the 11th hour and we’re so happy with it. A few people have told me it’s their favourite track of the lot which is nice to hear after all the struggle. I think it kind of sounds like Shellac playing Pornography-era The Cure.

6SPECIAL METHOD

This is the heaviest thing yr probably ever gonna hear us record. The outro vocals were recorded by me while writhing on the floor of Chris’ toilet screaming into a harmonica mic.

This was a difficult track for me because I am not a good guitar player and it required me to play some fancy parts that I actually had to practice (imagine!).

7MISSING LIMBS

My girlfriend had to move to London for 3 months back in 2016 which meant me travelling solo over to see her a couple of times. One such time I ended up having to kill an entire joyless day in Stansted airport where I wrote the narky lyrics to this. Upon arriving back in Ireland the music came together very quickly. I feel like this track is a lot more “rawk” than my usual fare.

8CARTHAGENIA

Sometimes you want to make grand artistic statements, other times you just want to rip shit. This is us ripping shit. This is straight out of the Repeater-era Fugazi school of riffage.

9GRAM

This is our Gram Parsons tribute. I had it partially written going back to 2014 but, like Parma, I’ve been terrified to record it just because I like it so much. Musically it’s us at our most shoegaze-y and at the end it morphs into a poem I wrote for my better half because I had no other clue how to finish it. I think Gram was really great at writing about love in a very honest and direct way which is something often lacking in indie rock music and definitely something I struggle with. The spoken word is my attempt to write some bullshit-free, from the gut romantic verse.

10NO MORE PARTIES IN LK

I’m a really lazy songwriter and don’t put half the energy into it that I should but sometimes I strike lucky and a song will just arrive to me fully formed. I picked up a guitar one day while waiting for Chris to come over for practice and within 10 minutes this song was done. If only it was always that easy!

I think the lyrics to this, particularly the “Cruiser vs everyone!” bit can easily be taken up wrongly as petty and petulant but they’re not intended as so. I’ve been lucky enough to never suffer too badly from any mental health issues throughout my life but a couple of summers ago I got knocked for six by bouts of dilapidating self-doubt and social withdrawal which rear their head occasionally as time has gone on. The lyrics deal with this directly but, importantly, the “Cruiser vs everyone!” bit is referring to how in times of personal strife the band has felt like a shield against real-life problems. Having the escape of being able to go hang out with these 3 awesome friends and make a ton of noise is the best thing in the world. Being in a rock & roll band like this is all I’ve ever wanted and to finally be able to do it is something I never take for granted. That’s why it’ll always be Cruiser vs everyone.

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