Not all family bands are cheesy, the Breslin duo tell Chris Wasser on the release of their album
It's a funny thing, starting a band with your siblings. Do it right and you have the Kings of Leon, Sly and the Family Stone, or even The Corrs. Do it wrong and you have The McCauls. Thankfully, Irish duo Orla and Cormac Breslin (formerly of the Republic of Loose) set out to avoid the novelty aspect associated with family-formed music groups.
"There is that stigma attached to family acts," nods Cormac, aka Bres. "A lot of them have been kind of cheesy. But, I suppose, when it comes down to the material, it'll set you apart. We didn't worry too much about it."
Enter Cars Love Girls -- a shiny, funk-coated 'pop art' project. Bres had spent the best part of 10 years writing songs and touring with Dublin-based rock and soul outfit Republic of Loose. It was time for a change and to start anew with his sister Orla (who joined 'the Loose' as a backing vocalist in 2006).
"It was always in the back of our minds," says Orla (28), "so we knew we were going to do something together."
"In a way, it was very liberating, walking away from this very tight-knit structure to just having a blank canvas in front of me and making my own decisions," Bres explains.
For Orla, it was an opportunity to step out of the background and take charge of lead vocals.
"The thing about doing the backing vocals and everything, it gave me great insight into touring and being on stage," she says. "Then again, after a couple of years, you kind of want to step out and do your own thing."
Sharing childhood heroes (Prince, Prefab Sprout, Hall & Oates) has resulted in a debut album that blends humorous wordplay (These Girls, Future Ex-Wife) with catchy beats and shimmering guitars. Skip School, mastered by Bernie Grundman (Steely Dan, Michael Jackson), is an introduction to what might be a colourful career for the duo. But what's the deal with the band's name?
"I wanted to have a title that was completely abstract," says Bres. "It could be ... three separate things we might be looking for, you know? There's a million different answers for the name," he laughs, "it's good to keep it breezy though."
As Bres (33) explains, he and his sister "get on pretty well". I wonder if it was a concern that starting a band together might lead to a broken relationship.
"It is something to consider, going into a musical situation with either friends or family," he says. "You've got to be prepared to have rows."
"Maybe those things don't really come up until you've achieved some success," says Orla, "because, at the beginning, you're both working towards the same thing, so there's not really a lot of room for fighting and diva-like attitudes. Maybe if we get world famous ..."
It was almost inevitable that the Breslin siblings would end up carving out a career in music. Bres walked straight out of college and into the Republic of Loose; his sister studied music at UCD.
"In terms of music, we always had similar tastes," says Bres. "My folks always played soul music in the house. My dad sings and plays guitar, so we grew up with music around us all the time."
When Orla decided to leave her job in PR, the parents weren't too happy.
"I was the child that all the hopes and dreams of the working solid career were put on!" she laughs.
"They trust us and they know we wouldn't leave our jobs unless we could support ourselves."
Looking to the future, Cars Love Girls hope to keep pushing their sound and releasing records. Whatever happens, they're proud of what they've done with Skip School.
"It's looking into the past," finishes Bres, "but I think it does sound like a modern record ... "
Skip School is out now