Crayonsmith are one of my favourite Irish bands, mainly due to the near perfection of previous album, White Wonder. But that was over three years ago. So to say I was pleased to hear they finally had new material would be an understatement. ‘Heaven In An Aeroplane’ is one half of a split-single with Cork group Elk, a three-piece I have seen live a few times over the years. The 7″ single AKA OOAL20 is released on the Out On A Limb label. Both bands played Plugd in Cork on Saturday night to launch the EP.

Crayonsmith/Elk Split 7″ by OOAL

All the shelves were gone and the only records left were the ones behind the counter. It was really cool to see a place transform for a gig; it’s a perfect spot for a show too. Crayonsmith opened proceedings, taking a little while to get going. It’s the first time the band has played a gig in a long time and it did look like they were still finding their feet. As singer Richie told The G-Man: “We’re still developing a sound as a three-piece.” But the quality of the songs still shine through. ‘Heaven In An Aeroplane’ sees the synths take off while old favourites such as closer ‘Lost In The Forest’ still have as much urgency as they did three years ago.

Elk, meanwhile, never wowed me in the past so I wasn’t expecting much on Saturday night. ‘Wet Stars’ opened proceedings and, particularly on record, sounds like a step up. Live, the vocals are still too shouty when they don’t need to be. But the quality of their music can’t be argued with and they could easily hold their own against some of the bands on the mainly heavy instrumental label, Richter Collective. Though saying all this, my girlfriend said afterwards that Elk were brilliant and she loved all of it. So I guess that shows what this blogger knows.

The split single can be bought from Out On A Limb. Both bands play upstairs in Whelan’s, Dublin, on December 17.