Constant musical development has marked the journey of Columbia Mills since the band’s inception in 2014.
Brothers Fiachra and Uisneagh Treacy found like minds in Ste Ward, Paul Kenny and Mick Heffernan in Bray, Meath and Dublin.
Their mission statement was to merge electronica, dance and pop while fostering a spirit of inclusion always evident at the long-gone club in Dublin’s docklands from where they took their name.
Never Gonna Look At You The Same and other songs on their debut EP Factory Settings smelled like prime Mary Chain but 2015’s EP The Perfect Day found them transitioning from the Reid brothers’ influence to more beat-driven cacophonies on its title track and the quietly epic History.
On 2017’s debut album, A Safe Distance To Watch, they transitioned again. One of its stand-out tracks, This City Doesn’t Feel Like Home To Me, reflected the disappointment lead singer and principal songwriter Fiachra felt with Dublin after arriving from Bray in pursuit of a musical career; a city that was said to prize its artists, now prices creativity beyond its boundaries.
With new member, Ken McCabe on keyboards/electronics, Columbia Mills’ burgeoning fanbase will be in no way surprised that the tracks on their sophomore album, CCTV (due for release in 2020) sees continuing evidence of that constant music development.
Car Crash TV sounds like Richard Ashcroft has hijacked the mic at a Depeche Mode gig while in the distance someone loops in something nodding to Kraftwerk’s Autobahn.
Understand is a song to move you and to which you can move. Columbia Mills have always understood you need to dance too.
The Answer is one of the most personal songs Fiachra has ever written. It expresses the pain of bereavement and the fear of inevitable further loss.
Columbia Mills don’t deal in gimmicks or crowd-pleasing antics but on Strange Game, the lead single from that new album, the lyric “You’re not ready to carry me home” is a ready-made call and response refrain to echo around your brain.
The new songs reveal a band who have truly found their voice but also the hands to fashion the sound to which they’ve aspired. You will sense that and soon cherish what you hear. They, meanwhile, will be plotting their next move.
‘Ireland’s answer to The National’ John Kennedy Radio X
I’ve always felt these lads were always a cut above the rest and just love their sound so cannot wait to hear the new album and if this is anything to go by we’re in for a treat! Ed Smith Today FM