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Album Review: Kowalski – For the Love of Letting Go

By on Friday, 9th August 2013 at 12:00 pm

Kowalski For the Love of Letting Go coverNorn Ireland’s Kowalski has finally graced us with a full length LP. I have enjoyed following them from their EPs ‘You are Noisy Sunshine State’ and ‘Take Care, Take Flight’ and now they have grown into a proper album with ‘For the Love of Letting Go’. Hailing from Bangor, they share the pedigree with Snow Patrol’s Gary Lightbody and the lads of Two Door Cinema Club. Don’t tell anyone, but there is a familial connection in that last one there.

Since their last release ‘Take Care, Take Flight’ in the spring of 2010, the band have been diligently crafting and redefining their sound. Only the very danceable ‘Get Back’, with the perfectly apt lyric ‘Get back to the place that you know’, moves forward with the guys. The rest of the disc is filled with fresh new tunes. Opening with the brightly upbeat ‘Forfey’, Kowalski sets out to bring an album’s worth of shimmery electro-pop. With guitar licks and a well-crafted pop sensibility, the band hooks you with dreamy melodies and an infectious body-moving vibe. ‘Burning Blue’ reaches out as my favourite though. “I don’t ever want to go back and lose/ You say it’s about to change, so go far now” speaks to where I am right now and makes me want to look for those “highest heights” that are “burning blue”. Album closer ‘Let’s Start Over’ sounds like a band looking to the future, letting go of where they were and looking to the fresh beginnings that await them. Here’s to hoping they like what they find.

My one criticism is that although what they do they do very well, there is little variety between songs. Occasionally I catch myself wondering whether or not there had been a track change or if it was just a really long song. More mature than their EPs, but still full of fun, bouncy tunes, ‘For Love of Letting Go’ continues the tradition of great music coming out of Northern Ireland.

It would be easy to say that Kowalski ‘burst onto the scene’ but since both ‘While We Drive’ and ‘Outdoors’ were released quite a while ago as teasers to the album, review of the former here, it’s clear that this album has been waiting to go for a while. Makes me wonder what they are up to now.


‘For the Love of Letting Go’, Kowalski’s debut album, is now available from their Bandcamp. You can name your own price for the digital version, and the 12″ limited edition vinyl version of the album is only £15 (to be shipped out on or around the 15th of August). Stream the album on the widget below.


Single Review: Kowalski – While We Drive

By on Tuesday, 29th May 2012 at 12:00 pm

I do love Kowalski. Nurtured by the Oh Yeah Center in Belfast, familial ties to Two Door Cinema Club and general Northern Irish love, what’s not to like? I was happy to hear there was a preview single available. It’s just a taster of their debut album to come, but I have been anxiously awaiting a full length from them since I first heard of them.

Much more developed than their previous offerings, the single ‘While We Drive’ is a charming swing through a winding and glorious reverie. While many bands are still endeavoring to grab a bit of the electro fad, Kowalski may have been there/done that and decided to branch out and deepen their sound. This is not to say that they have abandoned what they do best, not in the least. Louis Price’s vocals are still a little dreamy, a little rich, and ‘While We Drive’ calls to mind the long, warm summer nights that are upon us. It’s still delightfully poppy and full of catchy melody. But there is a little experimentation, a little more depth, a little more meat to this song. I am looking for more like this from the album, and I hope that it brings them across the pond so I can finally see them play in America.

The ‘While We Drive’ single from Kowalski is available as a free download for a limited time.


Live Review: Cashier No. 9 with Kowalski at London XOYO – 24th November 2011

By on Tuesday, 6th December 2011 at 2:00 pm

There is no use ignoring the music coming out of Northern Ireland right now. First there was Two Door Cinema Club, making a big noise last year and now headlining the upcoming NME Awards tour next February. So what’s going on now? Here comes the rampaging approach of two potentially heavy hitters: Cashier No. 9, earmarked by Simon Raymonde’s Bella Union and Two Door’s ‘little brothers’ Kowalski. (I put ‘little brothers’ in quotes because there is a brother connection between the two bands – Kev Baird’s brother Paddy plays drums in Kowalski.) Both bands played sets for a pretty well attended gig late November Thursday night in the Capital at relatively new venue XOYO.

Because of Kowalski’s relationship with Two Door, I kind of assumed an unfair assumption that they would be trying to ride on Two Door’s coattails to success. And while a casual listener might think these two bands sound the same, I think Kowalski has done a good job sonically distancing themselves from the band the media are probably going to lazily lump them with for the next couple years of their career, based on the jaunty guitars alone. ‘Navigate November’, a great track from their EP ‘Take Care, Take Flight’, was a standout from their support set. The band also showed off two new tracks (presumably appearing on their debut album?), ‘Ribbons’ and ‘While We Drive’ (watch it below). I’d keep an eye on these guys, I think they have great potential.


My impression the first time I heard Cashier No. 9: file under unremarkable psych rock. My fellow Washingtonian writer Cheryl urged me on, saying that I should give them a real try. So when their gig popped up in November just the week I happened to be in town celebrating my birthday, I said, okay, let’s give these guys a real chance. The multi-coloured light show keeping the band under a constant glow of various shades and glints added rather than distracted from their performance; turns out this was a happy coincidence, as frontman Danny Todd told me afterwards that the lights were the venue’s and not theirs. ‘Goldstar’, one of their singles this year, went down incredibly well, as did ‘Oh Pity’ (video below), currently making the British radio rounds. Three songs in, I applauded myself silently for choosing to attend this gig on my English holiday. I suspect this will go down in the band’s books as one of their early triumphs in London.


Other tracks from their debut album released this summer, ‘To the Death of Fun’, like ‘Lost at Sea’ and ‘The Lighthouse Will Lead You Out’, shone as promising gems that the audience may not have known but lapped up in short order. At first I was worried this was going to be a case of “oh London punters are just too cool for school and won’t show any emotion” but I was wrong. Men and women alike cheered for the band that has interestingly a percussionist who breaks out in harmonica solos. (I have no idea if this is normal for Cashier No. 9 songs but it certainly isn’t for a rock show these days.) A pair of women next to me was squealing constantly during the entire set. Now, I have been known to get my fangirl on and squeal during my favourite bands’ performances, but it was funny, these women desperately wanted set lists and whatever else they could get their hands on. If one live performance was enough to encourage that kind of fanaticism (Cashier No. 9 hasn’t gone on tour all that much in the UK…yet…), god only knows the kind of popular reception they’ll have at next year’s festivals.

After the cut: more photos and set list.
Continue reading Live Review: Cashier No. 9 with Kowalski at London XOYO – 24th November 2011


Video of the Moment #549: Kowalski

By on Monday, 15th August 2011 at 6:00 pm

Kowalski has a promo video for their new single, ‘Outdoors’. It was directed by Babysweet, the same folks that filmed the Two Door Cinema Club documentary “You Think You Know, You Don’t Know: A film about Two Door Cinema Club” from last year. This video is sunny and perfect for a lazy August day. Watch it below.

Their best buds Two Door did a remix of this song, which you can grab from this earlier MP3 of the Day post.



MP3 of the Day #370: Kowalski

By on Tuesday, 2nd August 2011 at 10:00 am

Bangor bands Kowalski and Two Door Cinema Club are like this. And we’re pretty pleased to offer up a Two Door remix of Kowalski’s forthcoming single, ‘Outdoors’. The single with this remix will be released on 22 August on Everybody’s Stalking.


MP3 of the Day #251: Kowalski

By on Friday, 15th October 2010 at 10:00 am

Fellow Bangorites Kowalski are touring buddies of Two Door Cinema Club, and any mates of TDCC are mates of mine. The Northern Irish quartet are offering a free download of their track ‘Navigate November’. Think TDCC, but a bit less frenetic and a bit more precious. Just lovely!

You can stream and download ‘Navigate November’ for your very own below.

<a href="">Navigate November by Kowalski</a>


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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

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