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Cardinals' Music isn't for You (It's for Them)

Updated: Feb 22

Photos by Emily Cardona

As those that know me personally will attest (and as I'm sure our readers have probably gathered from my profane leanings), at my roots, I am a loudmouth with a penchant for profane eloquence, who somehow managed to sucker a magazine into giving him column space (really, it's quite the feat, you should be taking notes! This is what listening to an obscene amount of records and a few well written emails can get you). I could never do the serious reporting here, I'm too opinionated, I get too attached, I have to say my piece. I strive for authenticity (and mild swearing) in all my work because readers can tell when you're bullshitting, in just the same way listeners can sniff out an industry planted workhorse a mile away. But it's the soulless reboots and copycats that make band like Cardinals that much more special.

Best boy band since One Direction.

Irish six-piece, Cardinals, (not even ELO had that many active members in it), is made up of Euan Manning (guitar, vocals), Kieran Hurley (guitar), Oskar Gudinovic (guitar), Aaron Hurley (bass), Finn Manning (accordion), and Darragh Manning (drums). Hailing from Cork, a fishing town off the coast of Ireland, the band originally formed as a joke. A trip through Irish scene culture and self-released double single later, Cardinals have found themselves the latest in an exciting cast of characters at So Young Records (Folly Group, Lime Garden). Their an elusive bunch, with their monochrome digital presence and affinity for black leather almost leading you to believe that they might not be a real band, and instead just a particularly suave group of gents that happened to stumble into a studio with a 35mm crank camera. But jam they shall, and jam they do.

February 20 marks the release of their latest soon-to-be hit single, "Unreal," the group's second release at So Young Records, and the second single off their upcoming eponymous debut EP, following their November 7-inch, "Roseland." "Unreal" is a meek, gritty rock ditty that is so catchy and so poppy that you can't help but sway along smiling, swinging from guitar to guitar, filling the record to overflowing with glimmering and grinding chords. The track is unabashedly sentimental, rooting itself in the what-if's and what-have-you's of global youth culture and Irish stereotyping, packing it all up nicely in the punk-style, big band gift box that will assuredly become their signature sound.

The band is still young, still figuring it all out, but their fresh perspective on rock music and inspiriting authenticity will shoot them to the moon, right up beside culture shocking contemporaries, like The Last Dinner Party, The OBGMs, and label mates Folly Group. Cardinals are a simplistic band, making simplistic, but by no means boring, music. They couldn't be bothered with trying to tell stories that aren't theirs, they have no interest in trying to emulate any certain style or fit in with with a certain type of audience, which most active readers would have gathered from the list of instruments earlier on (your pompous faves quiver in fear of the rock accordion player).

Cardinals are Irish musicians trying to tell Irish stories playing Irish-styled music; music you can dance to, cry to, fuck to, drink to, drive to, on and on and on. They're that once in a blue moon blend of all the right pieces and all the right skills, sealed tight by rock n' roll hearts of gold and their human metronome of a drummer. They're not out on some righteous crusade, they're not a Polyphia-type actively attempting to overhaul the landscape of musical theory, and they are not, as they would lead you to believe, Celine Dion. They're a couple of dudes pouring it all into music; no preconceived notions, no expectations. Cardinals are just trying to make music for themselves, and sometimes that is most rebellious thing you can do.

Rob Lucchesi


So Young Records


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