It's almost a cliché. Man and woman from different countries emigrate
to the States, meet waiting tables, find they things in common and ...
form a band. It's only in the cultural melting pot of the United
States that you can constantly produce such groups.
Too Cynical To Cry are an Anglo-Irish combination based in New York.
Shades of Tori Amos and The Beautiful South pervade their music but
songs like 'Tomorrow' have a distinctly Celtic influence, thankfully
without any Riverdance inspiration. They, however, cite Kate Bush,
Everything But The Girl and Bob Dylan as their main influences. Either
way it works.
Mairead, originally from Terenure, in Dublin, has a voice of soul and
harmony served with a side order of emotion. Justin, a "born rock star"
according to Mairead, is a lyricist whose words are loaded with
cynicism and wit.
The group was over from the States to promote their mini-album and to
try building up a network of fans here and in the UK - they supported
Aslan at the Mean Fiddler at the end of October. Afterwards, back to
the US to finish a series of showcase HMV gigs in Boston and New York.
So where on earth did they get that name?
"We borrowed it," replies Justin, "we felt there was a ring to it.
It's a comment on where we, as a society, are. We are becoming more
cynical and it's something that should be knocked on the head."
But what about the cynicism displayed in their own lyrics?
"It's okay in moderation, as long as you can turn it on and off it's
Their typical fans are "grandmothers and Spice Girl rejects" and
predominately female. Their music seems to have found its audience in
an adult market who appreciate a modern touch being added to songs
with a "late 70s/80s vibe". Perhaps that's why they've played at
parties for Robert deNiro and Meg Ryan.
Yet, they believe their music transcends classification.
"Our songs are not immediately engaging, some are catchy, but the
melodies don't really draw you in... We're not a Brit band, in a way
we're like U2 in that we can't be immediately labelled."
Their enthusiasm shines through at the mention of an album deal.
"We're really eager to get the full album out. We have about four
albums worth of material ... but we don't want a development deal, we
believe in the music. We want someone who will realise that we're
sustainable even though it might take a while for our market to grow.
We want someone willing to nurture us, who has faith in us. We don't
want to be a fad, the music should be around for a while."
They agree, therefore, that a deal with a strong independent might be
the way to go. Too Cynical To Cry don't seem that intimidated by the
industry and best of all they have a sense of humour about it. They
realise that making it is going to require a lot of effort and
dedication. And they're willing to do it.
by Neil Callanan.