The Blizzards

A Mullingar band, fronted by a former rugby player, who get a man who's worked with the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Korn and Soundgarden to produce their debut album is a story that would help any journalist fill a word count. And here's another one: an Irish outfit trying to break the stranglehold of US bands on the ska-pop genre. Formed by singer-guitarist Niall Breslin and school friends Aidan Lynch (keyboards, acoustic guitar), Anthony Doran (bass) and Dec Murphy (drums) in 2004, the Blizzards' sound began to really take shape when they hooked up with guitarist and ska aficionado Justin Ryan. Breslin insisted on bringing the professional work ethic he adhered to in his rugby career to the band, and so followed rehearsals which began on time, band members practising by themselves at home and a tour schedule which saw the quintet crisscrossing Ireland. With the band's self-released debut single 'First Girl to Leave Town' entering the Irish charts at Number 11, labels began to take interest and the band subsequently signed to Universal Music Ireland. Their Michael Beinhorn-produced debut album sees them transfer the energy of their live show to the studio but the big question now is whether the band's home success can be replicated across the Atlantic. When it comes to effort, they won't be found wanting.