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REVIEW: Breathless – Gallus

I’m loving a lot of the stuff coming out of Scotland at the moment.  The Snuts are vying for the title of Indie Kings.  One of my favourite live discoveries of recent times are Edinburgh’s The Rah’s.  Waving the Saltire for Scottish punk are The Dunts.  To my list of Caledonian favourites, I can now add Gallus. 

Glasgow four-piece Gallus are Barry Dolan (vocals), Craig Duris (bass), Eamon Ewins (guitar), and Paul Ewins (drums).  They have built a reputation for their rowdy, energetic live performances and punky tunes.  Latest single Breathless brings all that raucous sound and attitude to the turntable.

Singer Barry Dolan sums up the theme of Breathless as being ‘a song about someone who is angry at the romantic system and uses Tinder for his own personal gain’.  As the lyrics say, ‘It’s hollow, it’s empty, but he bet’s it feels alright.’.  The song starts with a metronomic drum beat and an angry, clipped, urgent guitar riff that carries on throughout the song.

Dolan’s angst filled vocals kick-in almost immediately.  Dolan’s vocal delivery seems to have changed over Gallus’s last two releases, Breathless and Actual Factual.  There’s a much more noticeable Scottish intonation to the vocals on these tracks than in Gallus’s earlier songs.  I asked Dolan if there was a reason for this?  ‘It’s a conscious decision.  In regards of those two songs, they have an aggressive undertone and it felt natural for me to shout more in them and it felt natural in the narrative of the songs that it was in my natural accent.’.  He’s not wrong.  There’s nothing that says hostility more than a shouty Glaswegian accent.  It’s perfect for the song.

The overall feel of Breathless reminds me of the sounds produced when New Wave diverged from punk.  It’s raw, energetic, passionate, but much more thoughtful than a three-chord thrash.

Breathless is available on all the usual platforms, but if you come across it on Tinder, make sure that you swipe right.

Ian Dunphy

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