I don’t know how they became everyone in Ireland’s favourite band, but the hardest-working group in the country (which almost definitely explains it) are back with their second album. And So I Watch You From Afar – let’s call them ASIWYFA from here on out, okay? – have grown in stature immensely in the past three years, ripping venues apart with their pulverising sound. With instrumental music in the country perhaps reaching a tipping point, ASIWYFA stand at the top of the pile as kings, looking down on all that lay before them at the start. Redneck Manifesto were undoubtedly the forebears of this new generation of instrumentalia and bands obviously still look at them to see where they are going to head next (their last album, Manifesto, is also astounding, proving they will never be left behind). But it is ASIWYFA who have made the longest strides in the genre. The debut self-titled release is full of numbers that reward with every listen and in ‘Set Guitars To Kill’ they had one of those defining songs, a call to arms.

And they returned last week with Gangs, an album that has had the Irish blogosphere salivating over for months. It continues much the same as before, with an intensity that so many bands fail to ever grasp. Case in point: ‘Search: Party: Animal’, which wills you into submission. The stop/start nature is enough to make you recover for a few minutes after before pressing play on the following track. But when that next track is ‘7 Billion People All Alive At Once’ (instrumental song titles are always the best/worse), you won’t want to recover. It’s the standout track from a stellar collection of eight and has some sing-a-long bits if the crowds get too sore from moshing. Ultimately, this is an album that will receive as many plays as the first one and will thrive in the live scene. Which they will be playing again and again and again.

Gangs doesn’t rip up any rulebooks. It does, however, take any rulebook you may have, throws it to the ground and jumps all over it. So go buy it and revel in one of the best bands in Ireland doing what you hope they do for a very long time.