A Plastic Rose are Northern Ireland’s best kept secret, but that’s all about to change.
The Belfast quartet did plenty of groundwork in the past 12 months, showcasing their anthemic take on post-hardcore on festival bills with Black Sabbath and the Rolling Stones. They even opened up the main stage for Boardmasters festival headliner Snoop Dogg in Cornwall. And on March 1, they’ll release their physical version of their full-length album, Flickering Light Of An Inner War, through Pledge Music. You can listen to the album right now, though, because the four-piece pulled the shock move of streaming the album in its entirety on Spotify in December. While a surprise album release from a moneyed, global superstar like Beyoncé may go down a storm, it was a bold move for a band with a, well, more humble following.
“It was a simple idea,” explains frontman Gerry Norman. “We’re always trying to push boundaries and I don’t think this has been done before by a band our size. We always want to try new and different things and the most important thing is people can listen to the album.”
Rewind a few years. Gerry met fellow guitarist and vocalist Ian McHugh at a karaoke night. The pair stood out by screaming down the microphone while the regulars sang folk songs. The pair bonded over a love of My Chemical Romance, Funeral For A Friend and InMe and began writing music together. Influenced by the likes of understated Kildare singer-songwriter Damien Rice, McHugh and Norman felt their efforts needed a “kick up the arse”. They recruited bassist Troyston Heaton Jr and drummer David Reid, which led to a flurry of songwriting. Think gigantic choruses wrapped around dark, personal themes.
“We’re happy-go-lucky people but all our songs seem to be about really horrible things, like death and depression,” laughs Gerry. ”No matter how close you are to someone, there might be a time when they can’t understand what you’re going through. With these songs, I can give people a certain idea of what I’m feeling, but there’s still mystery there. That’s the beauty of songwriting. It’s a cathartic thing, too. A lot of our songs may be about miserable things, but they’re beautiful at the same time.”
Their new album unapologetically tackles a host of difficult subjects based on the human condition, but does so with insistent singalongs and a melodic nous which has propelled the likes of Biffy Clyro into household name status.
“We’ve been busting our balls up and down the UK and Ireland for a while now, so we’re not shit,” he chuckles. “We play with our hearts on our sleeves, we’re loud and we’ll go for a drink with you after a show.”
A Plastic Rose will play a special album release show at Belfast’s Mandela Hall on February 24. The album, Flickering Light Of An Inner War is on Spotify now and will be released on March 1. For more details, see the band’s Facebook page.