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Early Christmas for fans of garage rock

Women's Christmas aren't quite your average band. Calling them a 'supergroup' sounds a little extravagant , though the three members are drawn from other acts - drummer James Byrne is usually found playing with Villagers, vocalist Ronan Jackson is a member of Jogging and bassist Bobby Aherne fronts No Monster Club.

Their humorously brazen manifesto ("to capitalise on The Replacements' reunion and possible accompanying wave of nostalgia for scrappy, outdated, boozy alt-rock") makes no allusions about their ambition or expectations for longevity.

Nonetheless, they've drawn a decent crowd - Byrne's bandmate Conor O'Brien among them - to the launch of their debut album Too Rich for Our Blood at The Pop Inn, a small building off Dublin's Capel Street. The building, usually used as a rehearsal space, occasional live music venue and HQ for independent collective Popical Island, is also where the album was recorded "in eight hours", as Aherne tells the crowd.

It's a tight squeeze, there's only one toilet and it's a BYOB affair, but the charmingly rudimentary décor (splashes of coloured paint dot the wall, fairy lights hang from the ceiling and the backdrop of a Phoenix Nights-style foil curtain ties the room together) suits the band's no-nonsense approach.

The trio's admiration for alt-rock pioneers The Replacements is undeniably audible, particularly on the sneery chug of Surrounded by Clouds - but that's not to say that they're a mere tribute act, either.

Raw While their album has a tendency to sound a little rushed and unfinished in places, tonight, that's not a problem as these songs are intended to be heard raw, loud, lo-fi and live.

The charmingly-titled P---ing in the Trees, is a standout, a three-minute blast of thrashy, ear-splitting punk-rock that ensures temporary deafness for anyone unfortunate enough to be standing next to the speaker.

As they zip from one track to the next, it's clear that the trio are having fun playing together and there is humour in both their lyrics and their stage banter.

They declare that Chalklines is for anyone who marched 'hungover' in the water protest earlier that day. With Sea Legs is amusingly dedicated to Hozier and the loose, ragged garage rock of Bubble on a Shelf is pronounced a 'hit' after clocking up 1,100 views on YouTube.

Yes, it's quite unlikely that Women's Christmas will ever match the success of Hozier or that they'll have a song or video that goes viral overnight - but as the plug is pulled and a merry, satisfied audience spills out on to the street, they seem to have done something right.


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