The difference a few years can make in the life of a band can be many things, not least surprising and educational. They say a week is a long time in politics, but a few years in music is multiple lifetimes. And so Ham Sandwich, the band you thought you knew very well, has turned into Ham Sandwich, the band you second guess at your peril. You can tick the boxes here: Within the last two years the band perform at Slane Castle, personally invited by Mumford & Sons to support them in Phoenix Park, and play at the President of Ireland’s Garden Party. Last year they sold out their first headline gig at Dublin’s prestigious Olympia Theatre, supported Arcade Fire and The Pixies at Marley Park during the summer, and stuffed out the Electric Arena tent at this year’s Electric Picnic. Not bad going for a band once battling with the dreaded ‘quirky’ tag, is it?
You can see the difference when they perform onstage – where there was once a band that seemed to revel in the occasional ramshackle live show now there is self-confidence, assurance and a sense of humour that is less slapstick and more on the subtle side.
It has been almost five years since the release of Ham Sandwich‘s garlanded second album, White Fox, and while it remains for many something of a masterclass in quality indie pop (it featured in Irish Times’ writer Tony Clayton-Lea’s acclaimed book, 101 Irish Records You Must Hear Before You Die) it is now viewed by the band as just their very astute second album.
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