I have been meaning to write about Come On Live Long and their new EP Mender for at least two weeks now. I haven’t because the music is simply so exciting that I forget to write down words to try and describe it. First the preamble: Come On Live Long are a five-piece band from Dublin who formed in late 2010. They already have one release under their name, the two-track self-titled EP. But now we have the Mender EP, which is comprised of five tracks that are never anything less than thrilling.


There are a number of influences on show, whether they’re intentional or not though is debatable. For instance, opener and standout track ‘Elephants and Time’ sounds, to these ears at least, like Cold War Kids – a buzzband around 2006, who released one great album, followed by a good album followed this year by a dud: ask your older brother. Now obviously, not many bands would want to try to copy that trajectory, but that’s the first comparison that sprung to mind on the first play of the EP. And Cold War Kids aren’t the only ‘cool’ band who Come On Live Long sound like. The beginning of ‘Guatemala’, for eight seconds at least, sounds like the opening bars of Arcade Fire’s ‘Neighborhood #3 (Lights Out)’. Final track ‘Someone’s Home’ meanwhile, morphs into Guillemots’ ‘Made Up Lovesong #43’ around the 90-second mark. Now this may or may not be intentional, but that’s what jumped out to me while listening to Mender. There are presumably other bands that jump to mind for other listeners.

So now that that confession is out there, what about Come On Live Long themselves? Well, as already mentioned, ‘Elephants and Time’ opens proceedings and sets the bar high. Over five minutes long, it goes through a number of sections that never repeat themselves. I count seven. We begin with snare-smashingly good drums and electronica, with singer Robert Ardiff claiming he “couldn’t keep a promise”. The refrain of “I know you can’t swim but the water’s low” enters just before the one-minute mark and 40 seconds later the bass takes over. It’s not quite a solo, but for someone who used to play bass in his youth, it was wonderful. Proceedings then pick up again at the 2.06 mark – the most obvious link to Cold War Kids. Less than 60 seconds later Come On Live Long offer the most singalong part of the whole EP. “Now that I want it you leave home,” (it could also be “Now that I wanted to leave home.” Either works, and I don’t really want to know the exact lyric.) sings Ardiff. We get more excitement before four minutes and then we get the bass-driven outro. ‘Elephants and Time’ might well be one of the songs of the year. That the quality doesn’t take a dramatic drop afterwards is testament to the band.

‘Guatemala’, after the Arcade Fire bit, is a funk-guitar driven track. Again though, the songs changes so much that by the end of its five minutes it’s practically unrecognisable from the beginning, though the samples remain. The question “Will we be saved?” never gets an answer and leaves things up in the air. ‘White Horses’ is a much slower number than what has preceded it and grows in sound. Come On Live Long have been described in numerous places – including their Facebook page – as folk, which I don’t particularly see. Maybe there’s something folky in the lyrics but it’s not the first genre that would jump to mind. Final track ‘Someone’s Home’ is folky for little over a minute. “It’s written above you that the world can be brutal if you don’t understand,” Ardiff sings. There are lots of lines like this that jump out at you and will reward on repeat listens.

Mender is more than 20 minutes long and could be the best thing you hear all year. Download it on Bandcamp for €4. You won’t regret it.

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