The Hot Sprockets continue to evolve with psychedelia-tinged third album

by James Hendicott
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The Hot Sprockets

If you heard a track of two of The Hot Sprockets’ music, and were then asked to stick a pin in a map identifying where they come from, you’d probably stick the point somewhere on the fringes of a Texan city, a spot with plenty of raucous rock influences, but a distinct country twang known for effortless, whisky-bar showmanship.

The five-piece actually hail from different corners of Dublin, having spent much of their performance-loving career entertaining their own niche with a thunderous live show.

They rumble between gigs in an aging Nissan Micra and very much live for their music.

Newly-released third album, Dream Mover, is the latest stage in a slow-paced and precisely crafted evolution.

Of the new release, multi-instrumentalist Frankie Kelly tells us: “It’s a bit more psychedelic – the production is a real step up from [second album] Brother Nature, and the song writing’s better than the last record. We feel like we’re really evolving as songwriters.

“We had a lot more than just the ten songs on the album, but we picked the best ones and spent a lot of time working on them, improving them and developing the sound. Much more went into it then anything we did before.

“There are three writers in the band, so between us we’re always writing at home. Some of the tracks we might look at once and never see again. Others make demo stage and the best make it all the way. There are hundreds of songs. We’ve done three-hour setlists of original material before.”

As for the image, that’s become the band’s thing. “It’s just our normal attire,” pipes up vocalist Tim Cullen.

“It’s just from stuff that influenced us, bands we’re influenced by; mainly 60s and 70s American bands. We wear our best stuff on stage, like going on a date or something. We don’t really pay too much attention to it, but to a certain extent it’s important. You dress up.”

Kelly adds: “Years ago, Tim used to work in a vintage clothing store, so he just got sweet clothes for free. We just kind of got mad into the clothes together, and kept on doing it.”

The result can feel like an authentic shift in time and place: The Hot Sprockets wardrobe would be genuinely hard to track down in Dublin, and sits perfectly alongside their sound. As well as their local successes, The Hot Sprockets have also been touring fairly extensively in Spain – their very own ‘big in Japan’ moment.

“We’re on playlists with both of their national radio stations, so we get quite a lot of radioplay over there,” Cullen explains.

“We got a Spanish release of Brother Nature through a company called Folk Records, so we put two tracks of the Licks From The Vault release on it.

“It goes really well out there. We’re back again this summer, to play a few shows, and we’ve been a few times now.”

For now, though, The Hot Sprockets will be pleasing the local crowd – one they profess a real love for.

They sit naturally in the messy realm of dwellers at Wicklow’s wonderfully shabby festival, Knockanstockan, with those whose hearts screams for the Blues, and those who simply can’t miss something so effortlessly, raucously entertaining.

The Hot Sprockets’ latest, Dream Mover, is out now (listen below), and launches at The Button Factory in Temple Bar this Saturday, April 14.

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