R.S.A.G.: Chroma review – One of the best Irish albums of 2020

Jeremy Hickey finds a groove that shifts, shimmers, pops and clatters over the course of 10 songs

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Artist: R.S.A.G.
Genre: Alternative
Label: Reckless Records

It's been 10 years since Jeremy Hickey last released a full-length record. The drummer extraordinaire, audiovisual guru and one-man band has taken his "Rarely Seen Above Ground" pseudonym more literally than fans of his avant-garde rock music may have liked, but his third album is a thrilling comeback.

The Kilkenny man made his name as a live force to be reckoned with via a clever AV set-up that saw him essentially play as his own backing band. These songs, a “musical diary” documenting the minutiae of his daily life, quickly finds a groove that shifts, shimmers, pops and clatters over the course of 10 songs.

Hickey's vocals are undeniably reminiscent of David Byrne, particularly on mellow softly-crooned opener Morning Sun, or on the whispered, ominous buzz of Focus. Talking Heads' influence also drifts into songs like the spry jitter of The Jungle (where Hickey's prowess as a drummer is evident) and the brass-enhanced party vibe of Leave a Light On – one of several tracks here that will sate fans of bands like LCD Soundsystem and !!!.

Hollow provides another twist to the tracklist with its sweetly-sung, considered strut, while the steady build of the title track's intense rhythmic patter is irresistibly fun. All in all, it's one of the best Irish albums of the year so far. RSAG.bandcamp.com


Download: Leave a Light On, Hollow

Lauren Murphy

Lauren Murphy

Lauren Murphy is a freelance journalist and broadcaster. She writes about music and the arts for The Irish Times