Irish Handcuffs are one of those bands that I don’t know why I didn’t listen to sooner – it’s not like I hadn’t seen their name before. Formed in 2011, Irish Handcuffs are a quartet from Regensburg in Germany who play what they refer to as three chord songs but I would describe as excellent gruff punk. They’ve played The Fest in Florida and Pouzza in Montreal, toured with the likes of No Use For A Name, Lagwagon and Boysetsfire and yet I only just checked them out when I came across their three track EP, Comfort In Distraction, on Bandcamp – the Righteous Indignation artwork might have had something to do with my clicking play. Of course, liked what I heard…
First up on Comfort In Distraction is Breathe Sleep, a melodic mid-tempo punk rock banger to rival the likes of Red City Radio or Elway. The verses are steady as they lead wonderfully into an immensely singalong-able chorus – ‘And I’ve got time to waste… All I need is another lifetime, Don’t let it slip away, Killing time is a capital crime, When you end up doing time.’ Breathe Sleep is about trying to make the best of the time you have, letting go of the past and focussing on today. This is really top notch stuff. Following on from Breathe Sleep in a rather furious fashion is Said And Done. The melody remains but it feels like the guitars have a slightly harder edge that wasn’t so apparent on the first track. This time I’m reminded of The Menzingers but there’s also hint of Alkaline Trio in the vocals which I didn’t expect to hear – a pleasant surprise. Said And Done is about trying to remember the good times but also accepting that we, humans, aren’t perfect and we often end up making the same mistakes time and time again. ‘I remember all the best words that you said, And all the fun we had, the times we spent, And it’s not easy just to bend and not to break, ’cause we just keep repeating our mistakes.’ The last track in this trilogy is called Miss The Aim, with the quick drums kicking things off ahead of the guitars Irish Handcuffs aren’t hanging around here. When the vocals come in, however, it seems like we might get a slightly slower paced finale but, oh no, the slower pace doesn’t last long. This is another upbeat singalong with themes that I’m sure will be highly relatable for many listeners. Lyrics such as ‘Don't you say it out loud, Put on a smile, Get a drink, Shut your mouth.’ and ‘The days go by, We lost our way, Maybe it’s never going to be okay.’ suggest that Miss The Aim is about coming to terms with mental health problems. An extended instrumental outro and one last muffled but anthemic chorus sees the song fade to its finish in style.
Comfort In Distraction is out now on Fond Of Life Records, Shield Recordings and Get Party! Records. You can stream and download it on Bandcamp here and find Irish Handcuffs on Facebook here.
This review was written by Emma Prew.