When I first heard Republic Of Loose’s hit “Comeback Girl,” I thought I was listening to Usher, or Justin Timberlake, or both. I did not think I was listening to a bunch of Irish guys from Dublin. They do an extremely convincing impression of an L.A. club jam, circa 2005 (which is fitting, since that’s when the song was released). The band is huge in Ireland, but they have yet to really break through in the United States. Their most recent attempt was an appearance last month on The Late Late Show in support of their new album, Bounce At The Devil.
Let’s get this out of the way up front—it’s a really good album. The band seems to have moved from smooth funk you’d listen to in your Escalade to wild electronic dance music you’d listen to in your…Escalade. The word “bounce” makes several appearances in the album and track titles, and this is no accident. The whole production is fucking bouncy. It’s soaked in electronic noise and dance beats and exotic percussion, and at one point, I think even an Irish flute makes an appearance.
Their funk and soul influences are strong. The band has claimed publicly their obsession with James Brown and the Rolling Stones. I also hear traces of bands like The Roots and Funkadelic and maybe even Prince and the electronic funk—or should I say, “bounce”—of acts like Outkast and Basement Jaxx. The fusion results in some catchy songs with controversial titles like “Golf With Satan” and “I Love The Police.” (Side note: that last title, sarcastic or not, is probably the best way to make sure that no one ever mistakes you as an L.A. band again.) They are also the only band with the guts to ask, “How Is Your Brain?” Do you really want to know, guys? Really?
This mixture of influences, in addition to what is by all accounts an excellent live show, has put Republic of Loose at the top of the charts in Ireland. Their success has led to appreciation from the music world. They have been praised by Bono and Sinead O’Connor, and according to their Wikipedia page, the manager of Oasis called them the most exciting new band since Oasis (which, while quite possibly true, is also hilariously self-serving). The band is playing a residency at the Dublin Academy from September to December. But those are the only gigs they have scheduled at the moment. For everyone outside of Ireland, Bounce At The Devil will have to suffice. Check it out. It’s a ride.
-Written by Erik Thybony