Just Mustard
Frank//October
Pizza Pizza Records

Just Mustard a five-piece band from Dundalk in the Republic of Ireland, just up the coast from Dublin, and just south of the border with Northern Ireland. Just Mustard released their masterful début album, Wednesday in February 2018.  On that long player, they displayed a penchant for loud guitars, piercing vocals, and a whole lot of noise.  My immediate response was this was the younger cousin of another great Irish band, My Bloody Valentine.  And they have already found famous fans in The Cure, for whom they opened at a massive outdoor gig at Malahide Castle just outside of Dublin (along with legendary shoegazers Ride and the Twilight Sad) last month.

Frank//October is a two-song single that carries on the feeling of Wednesday, but seems to be a little crisper and clearer, as frontwoman Katie Bell’s lyrics and voice come through clearer here, as in we can actually hear what she’s singing.  Her voice is both akin to the 90s shoegazer era, and apart from it. Whereas the women of the shoegazer era of the 90s (Bilinda Butcher of MBV, the Cocteau Twins, or Rachel Goswell of Slowdive, for example) were, like their male counterparts, content to let their voices hang in the music, buried into the mix, Bell is front and centre on this two song single. On Wednesday, her voice was deeper in the mix.

So what does she sing about?  She sings about dreams on Frank//October. Apparently Bell is a dreamer and thus, she kicks off ‘Frank’ with ‘I watch TV to fall asleep and I can fly in my dreams.’  This makes sense, as guitarist David Noonan plays in a band for the escapist part of it, especially being from a town like Dundalk, which is going to be caught up in Brexit, whether it wants to or not, given the existence of the town on the border and it having been caught in the crossfire of the Troubles, most notably when the Ulster Volunteer Force bombed a pub just before Christmas in 1975.

And oddly enough, as I listened to Frank//October in an America fractured by massacres caused by gun violences, and the response thereto, I could feel myself slip into the music, the shimmering and loud guitars, the distorted bass, and the crashing drums, to say nothing of Bell’s voice.

They are currently on the road with Ireland’s most famous rock band not called U2, Fontaines DC, touring through England.