Engine Alley: Showroom review – Intriguing collection of lost nuggets
Engine Alley brought a sorely needed splash of surreal colour to the somewhat beige Irish scene of the early 1990s. It is somewhat shocking to learn that Showroom is the Kilkenny act’s first vinyl release in quarter of a century.
It lovingly compiles lost nuggets from their heyday that didn’t make it on to their best-known release, A Sonic Holiday. While Showroom probably won’t appeal widely beyond their considerable fan base, it certainly isn’t any odds and sods compilation, but a snapshot of a terrifically talented Irish band in their prime.
Engine Alley are best known as colourful exponents of pop theatre, but they can do wistful melancholia better than any one on A Valuable Lesson. Take it On the Blindside is one of their best moments, while Car on Fire is more in step with their wackier side, and a live favourite from back in the day.
Neither is this project any sort of reunion, as Engine Alley have been plugging away over the years with annual gigs in Kilkenny and Dublin.
It is also heartening to see Engine Alley release Showroom on Rollercoaster Records, which is also the name of Kilkenny’s fantastic independent music shop, which was established by Willie Meighan, who died last year, and Kerbdog drummer Darragh Butler.
Further proof that music is a light that never goes out.