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If ever there was a band who epitomized their music in terms of image, The Good Fight would surely be worth backing. Led by Ben Robinson’s ethereal vocals (which match up perfectly with the band’s clean cut appearance it has to be declared) the band have managed to grow their audience gradually over the last six months, winning fans not through force but by much softer means. Normally you could imagine that such statements would be used to deride rather than embrace said subject matter – but the almost quiet, affecting depth with which The Good Fight take to stage is easily warmed to.

Depending on your tastes, their music could be taken as too innocent or trite – a hefty departure from the heavier, denser music that the majority of local bands play; their energy directed in a more delicate manner than most. It is however a departure that I find welcoming, a change of pace once in a while is hardly a bad thing after all. There is I suppose, genuine heart in their music that many other acts would perhaps find themselves unable to pull off, particularly when playing as a full band – preferring instead to hold off more intimate material for acoustic sessions. It is a strength which transcends an audience’s first impressions of such a fresh faced group.

Mixed with their youthful appearance, many could well be put off by what is certainly lighter music on the ears, but the accessible sound they deliver hide the band’s maturity. As they grow, future tracks may very well strike a better balance between showing off their musical strengths and giving audiences a sensitive slice of rock – for now, once your ear has been tuned to their output it would be hard to ignore what audible delights they offer up.

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Having spent practically every weekend in February with Sligo born (though Belfast bred) band A Plastic Rose, I’m quite sure that anything I have to say will be tinted by fond memories of having my gig worn ears soothed by comfortable sofas, friendly conversation…and the intermittent smell of Buckfast on the air.

…and perhaps that’s the best place to start. Comprised of Gerry Norman, Troy Heaton, Ian McHugh and David Reid, A Plastic Rose contain a very insufferable quality in today’s world – behind their music, they are genuinely nice people; interested in fitting into the puzzle that is the music community in Northern Ireland.

In a generation that has been trying to outgrow talk of cliques, scenes and in-crowds, they are a band who over the last six months have simply put their heads down and worked hard at making their own material the best that they can. They can count many of the other local bands as not only fans, but friends – and can be seen taking musical life on the chin, concentrating on presenting the wider world with a show of effort rather than spend time focusing on the negatives.

A role at A Little Solidarity and consistantly rising stock (opening for LaFaro and ASIWYFA at the Christmas Two Step) has seen them quickly grow from opening act to cult favourite amongst other bands, and at the present time they are just starting to poke into the realm of headlining – landing top bill at Dutch Shultz’s album launch night. So far it appears the future will see further advancements into this, with the band scheduled to make a proud return to The Limelight in April to headline the Two Step.

Constantly striving to make every song sound different without losing the essence of their particular brand of shoe-gaze, you could say that whilst you may not enjoy what they play; you can’t fault their attitude towards their craft. Or at least, you could, but I’d have to tell you that you’re wrong. It is this drive to perfect their sound has seen them move from slow building work like Suns A Shadow to the anthemic Kids Don’t Behave Like This, a song which is instantly recognisable and generates energy in crowds normally reserved for Fighting With Wire – culminating with it, Superspeed and Skin (their latest batch of direct yet poignant songs – recently released via a self titled E.P at the Spring & Airbrake) going down an absolute storm with audiences.

…and that comment is not without comparison – there is something, dare I say, Cahir-esque about Gerry Norman’s stage presence; but let’s not get carried away.

A Plastic Rose are maturing as an act. With a focus on the fresh turnover of new ideas and a growing affinity for engaging with their audiences, I personally will be following them, hopefully, for many years to come as they continue to draft what is shaping up to be a very distinct soundscape.

…providing Gerry’s sofa doesn’t eat me alive some night.

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