The follow-up single to The Naturist & Oh-Oh from
the bands new critically acclaimed album White
Fox. Gradually brushing off their guitar-indie
band tag, Ham Sandwichs fan base continues
to grow steadily as the band pushes the boundaries with
their song writing, instrumentation, & arrangements.
ANTS continues that trend and it just so happens to
be damn fine pop song to boot! Check out the brilliant
animated ANTS video by Marc Corrigan!
White Fox is Produced by Karl Odlum & mastered in
Abbey Road Studios by Peter Mew (David Bowie, Beatles,
ELO, Bob Marley)
"There isnt a duff tune here, which makes
it that very rare thing: an album you can listen to
all the way through without being tempted to press fastforward"
~ Tony Clayton-Lea THE IRISH TIMES (The Ticket 4-Star
Review of "White Fox")
Some rock bands fret too much about the successful fusion
of commerce and creativity. Some rock bands think they
can second-guess the music fan by blending strategies
for world domination with mix-and-match, catch-all music.
Ham Sandwich, however, instinctively react to rock music
more than spending too much time thinking about it
which is nowhere near as bad as it might sound
and it is this that marks them out as one of the best
Irish rock acts of recent years.
Ham Sandwich have been around and about in one very
interesting shape or another since 2003, but it wasnt
until the autumn of 2005 with the release of
their debut single, Sad Songs that
they began to be known outside their home county of
Meath. The band formed, says singer/guitarist Podge
McNamee, due to original member/bass player Johnny Moores
creative urge to be always one step ahead of the posse.
Balancing ambition and risk is a tricky thing to get
right, but with Moores astute knack for understated,
engaging craft and McNamees liking for juggling
quirk, strangeness and charm, stability reigned supreme.
Id always had an urge to be in a band,
says Podge, whose early ambitions lay in stand-up comedy,
and although up to that point Id done nothing
to show that I could be in a band, Johnny thought there
was something about me that made him think I could be.
I think he liked the fact that I could be anything at
Alongside Moore, who has since left the band to pursue
other projects, and McNamee were co-vocalist Niamh Farrell
(whose experience at the time amounted to little other
than singing in a few bands in Glasgow), guitarist Darcy
and drummer Ollie Murphy. Chemistry has a curious way
of working, and within weeks the band clicked through
a mixture of varying musical influences, a singular
love of kitsch, and a healthy distaste for anything
within an asss roar of mediocrity.
It was more the relief of being in a band than
anything else, says Podge of early ambitions.
I knew I wouldnt have been able to learn
for myself, so I had to have someone to get me involved.
I mean, I literally didnt know how to plug in
a guitar. And for at least the first year of gigging,
I had to borrow amps and a guitar. When we started the
first rehearsals, we knew Niamh was going to be the
singer, and not much else. You could say I showed up
to be trained!
It was great, though, recalls Niamh. We
were in it for being in a band, but it got serious quite
quickly. We were still in rehearsals when a major record
label came to hear us, so we thought, well, we could
be on to something here.
We were a total mess back then, though,
claims Podge, and I think that was totally down
to me because I was such a rookie. I wanted to go crazy
on stage, but I didnt have the skills to keep
the music together at the same time. If Id been
boring Id have concentrated on the music, but
I didnt want to be too po-faced on stage.
Inevitably, levels of ambition and confidence grew
as the band became more proficient. Each subsequent
single release (including St Christopher
more positive responses than the previous one. In early
2008, their debut album, Carry The Meek,
was released. Within days, the band was a recipient
of the Meteor Music Hope for 2008 Award. The remainder
of 2008 was spent touring the album, getting to know
the songs inside out, and being aware of the difference
between entertainment and novelty value.
When I think about how I was at the start
says Podge. The band had such patience with me,
because at least three out of five gigs would have been
more or less shameful because of me. Yes, there would
have been an element of entertainment at the same time,
but now, personally, Id rather be good musically
and not shambolically entertaining. We never wanted
to be a laughing stock...
Fast-forward to 2010 and the release of The Naturist
and 'Oh-Oh, the first two single from Ham Sandwichs
second album "White Fox", highlights the classic
intertwining vocal wordplay from Niamh and Podge and
driven by D'Arcy's anthemic guitar playing thus marking
a soaring return from one of Ireland's most popular
Launched in Dublin's The Button Factory last October
channelling the kind of pop smarts that most bands would
sell their souls for, White Fox is a new
chapter in the bands creative life: the application
of even more craft with a double helping of musical
eloquence. And theres more of this in the pipeline.
With Carry The Meek, says Podge,
some of the structures of the songs are fine,
but theres repetition there. With the songs for
the new album we wanted to be more crafted, more influential,
perhaps. The one thing Im happy with already is
that I dont think the second album will be anywhere
like our first. At the same time, its more grown
up, with a little bit more sophistication. The first
album was practically all electric guitar; the new album
is more musically varied and not for the sake
of it, either. Its just that were getting
our heads around different instruments. Its a
natural evolvement, and more texture is no harm.
Weve definitely grown up since Carry
The Meek, maintains Niamh. In terms
of all of us getting involved in the song writing process
and, I suppose, just maturing as people. Making the
song structures more interesting is crucial for both
the listener and the band, because it holds the attention