Review: The Virginmarys – Sitting Ducks

Since releasing the best album of 2016, it’s been an eventful time for The Virginmarys. Striking while the iron is hot, Ally Dickaty and Danny Dolan have been hard at work bringing a new set of songs to life in the form of their new EP, Sitting Ducks.

Self-produced and self-released, the duo continue to look forward in terms of new material. This isn’t a set of Divides b-sides, nor is it a return to King of Conflict’s sound. Further evolving their sound and conscious of not releasing the same material twice, it’s a brand new experience whilst still sounding unmistakably like only they can.

As Danny’s distinctive drums open the EP on the title track, it’s hard to wipe the smile off my face which only broadens once Ally’s inimitable throaty vocals begin. Alongside hints of blues in his unique guitar tones, it’s one of the most groove-laden songs they’ve ever recorded and flows nicely into the hook-filled “Sweet Loretta”.

If you managed to catch The Virginmarys on their March tour or their raucous Camden Rocks set, that pair of songs alongside the gritty “Through the Sky” should be ones you recognise. While even this is new and fresh, the intro itself is reminiscent of their King of Conflict material before they launch into the most bombastic song of the EP backed with their standard touching lyrics.

Mirroring the previous two albums, “Sleep” comes as no surprise. Starting off far tamer than the EP’s previous songs, it builds to a stunning crescendo. With its stripped back nature, the lyrics are some of the most heart-rending Ally has penned to date and his vocal delivery at its most passionate. It runs the gamut of his abilities and combined with the lyrics, is as emotionally charged as “Ends Don’t Mend” or “Living in My Peace”.

Opting for a “less is more” approach to the production, the tracks feel light and airy, giving them a raw dynamic which is best represented in “Through the Sky” and “Sleep”. Between Danny’s mountain-shaking drumming and Ally’s guitar work and vocals, they’ve never sounded better. The urgency and explorative nature of the EP shows them at their best as they take in all the influences and sounds which make them. It’s that which makes them sound unique as there’s literally no other band in the world which sounds like them.

From sheer venom to beautiful tenderness, The Virginmarys have presented their tightest body of work to date in the form of Sitting Ducks. But not only that, no other release from them has truly characterised their self-styled mantra of “peace, love, truth, music” as this.

Sitting Ducks is released on 22nd September

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