Album Review: The Virginmarys – “The Northern Sun Sessions”
It’s fair to say that Macclesfield rockers the Virginmarys have been through the mill somewhat in the two years since their sophomore album, 2016’s “Divides”. At that point, things were looking pretty rosy for the band – after making quite the splash with their debut (2013’s “King Of Conflict”), touring in support of Slash (who admitted in interviews to being a fan of the band) and Queens of the Stone Age and winning Classic Rock’s “Best New Band” award, they delivered an excellent follow-up in the Gil Norton-produced “Divides”, which built nicely on the promise shown by their debut and deservedly received good reviews across the board. The Virginmarys had well and truly announced their arrival, and the world, it seemed, was theirs for the taking.
Long story short – for whatever reason, the album failed to sell, the band were duly dropped from their record label and bassist Matt Rose promptly up and left the group, leaving doubtlessly shellshocked frontman Ally Dickaty and drummer Danny Dolan to soldier on as a duo. The music business really can be a viciously cruel bastard sometimes.
Picking themselves up off the ground and now self-releasing their music, “The Northern Sun Sessions” sees Dickaty and Dolan pouring out every ounce of frustration in their beings at the events of the last couple of years – make no mistake, this is one seriously venomous album. Furious diatribes like “For The Two Of Us”, “Wanna Be Free”, “Step Up” and the closing slow-building poison waltz that is “All Fall Down” have a similar sort of fury to Therapy?’s recent “Cleave” album, and see them vitriolically calling out those who’ve let them down with false promises in recent times.
The key though is that it’s this sheer anger that makes “The Northern Sun Sessions” such a compelling listen – the defiance of opener “Look Out For My Brother” and “SOS4UNI” show a band that are turning their fury into a creative driving force, and doing it much better than they really have any right to. Bitterness and disappointment have rarely sounded this energetic.
The Virginmarys deserve a lot of credit for taking all the disappointment and frustration they've suffered over the last two years and crafting a well-honed and well-aimed slice of fury at those who've wronged them. "Northern Sun Sessions" is a worthy offering from a band who really deserve so much better than to be stuck on the outside raging hard against the dying of the light.