Hot Press - Single Of The Fortnight - Feb 22 2005

Black Honey

Tagged as the next big thing to emerge from Ireland, Mainline have been gathering much acclaim from the likes of Q magazine and London’s XFM. Listening to their debut single, it’s easy to justify the hype. With a big dirty guitar riff pushing it on, ‘Black Honey’ wouldn’t sound out of place on a Black Rebel Motorcycle Club or Jesus and Mary Chain album. It sounds like nothing that has come out of an Irish band in years. Fuzzy, dark and just fuckin’ rocking, it can’t but sound incredible.

Better still is ‘Once More (because of you)’. Not as dark or dingy as ‘Black Honey’, it displays a more melodic side to Mainline’s take on dirty rock n’ roll. Fantastic stuff.

Steve Cummins


NME - Mainline

"..Absent Kid look like a baby deer pushed in front of a car before it's learned how to use its legs.

Dublin's Mainline have no such problem. From the opening thundering bass rumble or recent single 'Black Honey', they are the Bejaysus and Mary Chain. Round their way it's all back -lighting, drone rock and a total obsession with Spacemen 3, the Velvets, early Bunnymen and white noise. It might be obvious, but there's a welcome innocence about them. They are the band BRMC could have been had they had charm and magnetism to match their intent. Catch them before the lawsuits do."

Paul McNamee  "Black Honey"

[If the original feedback drenched dronerock class of '91 were labelled as being the Scene That Celebrates Itself, then Mainline could be described as being the band that worships Jim and William Reid.

But then that would be unfair on the Dublin trio who've had several major label A&R men in a bit of a whirl for some time now.

'Black Honey' displays all the hallmarks of a modern day Spacemen 3, with Neil Paxton's monotone vocal wrapping itself around the droning buzz created by his brothers (literally) in rhythm.

The b-side 'Once More (Because Of You)' sounds like Verve falling through a cement mixer, which doesn't sound like a bad idea considering each individual's achievements since said band's demise, and if nothing else proves that Mainline have more than one E string on their Telecaster shaped bow.

Dom Gourlay, 31/1/2005 - Whelan's, Dublin - Feb 10 2005

Review Snapshot:
A fine Thursday night jaunt from the latest Irish act to perfect the surly rock sound.

The CLUAS Verdict?
7 out of 10

Full review:
It is the start of Spring, even if the weather defies Mother Nature, and at this stage of every year bands sprout up like flowers amongst the weeds. From February onwards, new bands are plugged throughout the media for weeks on end and more established acts release new material & start out on touring duties. So expect to be swamped with interviews/reviews/articles on the hottest new bands (Bloc Party are currently leading the way) and some who might grab your attention (like Mainline) over the next while.

As the venue slowly filled up, it was obvious by some neutral comments muttered that many people were here just on the hype that currently surrounds Mainline. Vague expressions masked the faces of the few who were subjected to the dreadful background music and the non-appearance of a support act. The clock was ticking close to ten when the main act arrived through a hiss of smoke. All of the band members were attired in similar leather jackets and new-age style mullet haircuts. They looked like a gang of biker’s kids making a pit stop to refuel and maybe rock out for a little while. Rock quickly became the definitive word though. Amps were cranked to the right and pedals were programmed to a grungy level before a wall of guitars started everything off.

Crammed onto the stage were six twenty something's ready for battle with four guitars, keyboards and drums as their weapons of choice. A blue tint flickered just as the band opened with a soundtrack of Joy Division-styled cravings. The crowd started to warm to their sound straight away and the band fed off that energy. Rolling straight into the next track, more smoke fizzed out of the shadows thus creating a gloomy atmosphere. That atmosphere was further heightened on songs like ‘Bounty’ and ‘Where The Ghosts Meet’ where their sound came across as a large dosage of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club with some added punch.

One of the best things about Mainline is that their sound is very compact and all of the instruments gel well together. The keyboards stutter with a cloudy eeriness, the drums tap like a marcher’s signature tune while the guitars dig deep and unveil a rugged intimacy. The lead vocals differ between a morbid Tim Burgess and a Velvet Underground-era Lou Reed, which suit the despondent lyrics.

‘Mary Jane’ and ‘Re-birth’ stand out as two of the stronger songs in their set due to a zip of enthusiasm in the vocals compared to previous mumblings on sections of earlier songs. All around the venue, the once expressionless faces now had a satisfied smirk in place.

Despite the lack of crowd interaction, Mainline are really good live performers. Taming a surly rock sound isn’t an easy feat. This band do it really well, using the uneasy tone that Hope Of The States exploit so well and the downtrodden rock resolute of Jesus And The Mary Chain. This gig was a good introduction to the band’s sound but their rock n’ roll style exit (each member leaving the stage one by one dropping their instruments without any acknowledgement to the crowd) didn’t do much to impress, and maybe even spoiled their final instrumental piece, which was really good.

Gareth Maher 


You're So Old Street - Metro, London - Nov 25 2004

By rights, the Spacemen 3 revival should have kicked off 18 months ago, but a dodgy second album from BRMC, coupled with The Warlocks' failure to hold their shit together, rather put the kibosh on things. Happily for those of us in thrall to droning smack-rock with poshly-enunciated vocals, Dublin sextet Mainline are here to finish the job.

Tonight, their London début climaxes with a blazing cover of the Spacemen's classic call-to-arms 'Revolution', and elsewhere the influence of Jason Pierce's post-Spacemen 3 vehicle Spiritualized is plain in the dreamy farfisa washes and gloomy, heartbroken vibes. But this is no tribute band: for every song that mentions drugs or Jesus, there's another that detours into grinding biker rock, My Bloody Valentine-style noise terrorism or even - dare we say it - nu-gazing. It's a potent brew, as you'll discover when début single 'Once More'/'Black Honey' drops in January. Meantime: watch these spacers.



XFM - ‘Black Honey’ (Loog) - Jan 31 2005

NP: With their smack and honey references and their drawling rock and roll and Phil Spector influences Mainline are treading in the time honoured tradition of the Jesus And Mary Chain, Spacemen 3 and Spiritualized. This dirty groove is the sort of thing Black Rebel Motorcycle Club should have delivered with their last album and hopefully still might with their next. Until then, these Dubliners will do nicely thank you.


Hot Press - Oct 27 2004

Mainline / Death In Vegas - Live At The Radisson Hotel, Galway.

It’s a free Heineken Green Room session (600 tickets have been given away gratis) so, even though it’s a Monday, the Radisson is packed. There’s a catch to this ‘free’ business though. The bar is offering a choice of Heineken, Heineken or Heineken, take your pick. Still, the atmosphere is good and expectations are high.

Dublin guitar act Mainline open proceedings. Six shadowy figures in black leather and bad haircuts, their influences are immediately all too obvious. At times, they sound like the Pixies being fronted by Liam Gallagher. Others, they sound like Oasis being fronted by Frank Black. Throw in some My Bloody Valentine effects, Velvet Underground feedback and Jesus & Mary Chain riffs, and you’ve pretty much got their measure.

They don’t speak a word between songs (I think ‘Healing Song’ and ‘Black Honey’ were titles), but they’re fairly adept at pulling iconic rock & roll poses. Sadly, they don’t really connect with the audience until the very end of their set, when they finally seem to let their music take them over, and just really go for it - passionately. Not the most original guitar band I’ve ever encountered, but I’d definitely go and see them again. If it wasn’t raining.


Hot Press - Mar 2 2005

Live At Whelan's, Dublin.

Who was it that said that beauty is a double-edged sword? True, it could be all too easy to denounce Mainline as six pretty boys, looking for all the world like a band of spruced-up Fonzies. Luckily their sound tells a different and much more substantial story.

Mainline hail from the same exciting (and excitable) faction of the Dublin underground that also houses The Things and Humanzi, but sonically, they are a breed apart. Like the title of their single ‘Black Honey’ suggests, their sound is a dense black hole in which it’s possible to drown.

Very rarely does a new Irish band so forcefully present a sense of occasion, yet tonight’s set is urgent and sexed-up, gilded with a narcotic calm that causes white spots behind the eyes. Often compared to the prairie-dry Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and the world-weary, laconic likes of Spiritualized, there are also brooding strains of Echo & The Bunnymen evident in tonight’s set…with the edge taken off on occasion by a less forbidding, Charlatans-type burr.

The Mainline set isn’t necessarily one of surprises or searing climaxes or crescendos. Instead, their sound builds slowly from a reflective, distilled sort of psychedelia to a thumping, immaculately dishevelled slice of rock wonderment.

Meanwhile, a well-scrubbed backpacker type walks through the venue’s side door, as if by accident. From the look on his face, it appears as though he has stumbled upon some sort of Holy Grail. It was certainly that sort of show.

As for America? Let’s just say they won’t know what hit ‘em.

Tanya Sweeney


Hot Press - May 6 2005

The Future's So Bright They've Gotta Wear Shades

With Dublin scuzz-rockers Mainline gearing up for the Budfest, bassist Conor Paxton can barely contain himself.

"I can’t wait to get out on the road!” declared Mainline bassist Conor Paxton, when hotpress caught up with the Dublin gonna-be's in mid-rehearsal.

“We’ve got some of the best shows ever coming up," he continues. "We’re practising. but we’re taking it easy in the run up to the gigs. Getting clear heads. We’ve gotta make sure we’re tight as fuck. We’re so happy to be playing with the likes of The Las (who they’re supporting at The Ambassador) and The Chemical Brothers.”

The sextet are currently signed to Loog Records in the UK for a one single deal, but will be putting out a 12” on New York label Plant Records in late June featuring a remix by Who Made Who (who are signed to the DFA label) and another by a friend of the band, Leo, who produced their first demos.

“Everything’s moving at a really nice pace for us at the minute," Conor enthuses. "We’re on a roll. Things are looking up around every corner. It’s great, cos we’ve put the work in, and now it’s starting to pay off.” Indeed – the band are on track for a mammoth summer jaunt that takes in the likes of London’s Wireless festival with Kasabian, and T In The Park.

Conor seems sure as well that the success his band are reaping will also be enjoyed by some of their Dublin peers: “It’s great, because there are three or four bands of our friends who are coming up now," he points out.

"Humanzi are in the process of signing a deal at the moment. And The Things are doing really well. It’s brilliant – just what Dublin needed, and about time too.

“We really want to make it, and make Dublin a place to go to as well,” he continues. “Get it recognised. The music industry’s so small here that we need a few good bands. Not everyone from Ireland is U2 or Boyzone.

"Are we up to the challenge? Definitely! Of Course! If we weren’t, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. I think we have what it takes to do what we want to do. There’s a lot of music to be made and I think there’s a big audience that we could get to. It should be a lot of fun over the next month or two.” - ‘Black Honey’

Sorpresa: i Black Rebel Motorcycle Club non hanno esaurito tutte le possibili combinazioni di feedback, drones, Spacemen 3 e Jesus & Mary Chain. Da Dublino, i Mainline sono dei garagisti irresistibilmente attratti dal lato oscuro dei fuzzbox, ma che riescono a fermarsi a tanto così dal precipizio che sta risucchiando tante brave giovani bands all'ombra dei White Stripes. "Black Honey" è un blues/garage magmatico e denso, che referenzia in originale Stooges e Morticians più che i gruppi sopra citati e si avvale dell'intenso lavoro dei due fratelli Paxton, capaci di organizzare l'imperturbabile forza del cantato attorno a potenti drones elettrici. "Once more (because of you)" è minacciosa, più marziale ma ugualmente granitica, resa interessante dall'incessante lavoro - sopra e sotto la voce - della Telecaster solo meno devastante della title track man mano che si alza il volume. Giovani-non-giovani ma non certo stupidi, per il momento i Mainline sferragliano senza titubanze fra sirene commerciali e famelici A&R. E sappiamo quanto l'inghilterra vada pazza per i fratelli che vestono in nero e suonano una qualsiasi forma mutante di rock and roll.

Alessandro Salvatore