Monday, October 23, 2006

SuperJimenez To The Rescue!

The name SuperJimenez may conjure up images of a Mexican cartoon superhero, but it actually belongs to the latest Irish rock ‘n’ roll sensation. Surprised? Good. SuperJimenez would have it no other way. Their labyrinthine melodies and unconventional song structures take the listener on a musical rollercoaster ride, while their effortless transcendence of stylistic boundaries makes for a veritable tour of Planet Rock. After getting punky on their fantastic debut single “Helicopters,” they then get funky on “Come Out To Play.” The atmospheric “Hear You Now” resembles a late ‘80s U2 production minus Bono’s histrionic wailing, and “Beau” swings along on a poppy groove while retaining enough fire and fury to avoid slipping into bubblegumland. Just when you think SuperJimenez will rock you until you can’t be rocked anymore, they bring out the folky, acoustic “Birth of Venus,” complete with sparkling harmonies and gorgeous baroque guitar work.

It’s even a tad misleading to call the band Irish. Yes, singer/guitarist Ronan Cunningham, lead guitarist Rhys Domagala, bassist Nicholas O’Laoire, and drummer Daragh “Daz” Coen are based in Dublin. But Rhys is an Aussie who came to join SuperJimenez through the most unusual circumstances. “Quite a freaky story when I think it about it now,” he muses. “I came over to Ireland from Australia in October, 2005, and my first day in Dublin I rang this guy about a spare room, as I was in need of somewhere to live. This guy—Ronan—was actually looking for a guitarist for his band as well, so I ended up moving into the house and joining the band. What’s weird is that their old guitarist had quit the band about two days before I arrived in Dublin! And it was his room I moved into!”

From such a story, one can reasonably conclude that the members of SuperJimenez have a natural camaraderie that allows them to work together as a fully integrated unit. Although Ronan founded the band and sings lead, the creative process is a genuine group effort. As Rhys explains, “The songs are essentially written by Ronan. Generally he comes to practice with the song and lyric and then we work on it as a band. The songs often change direction at this point with each of our contributions. For example, the noted rhythm in ‘Helicopters’ (da da da, da da da, etc.) was Nick’s contribution to that song, I wrote the lead guitar hook in ‘Beau,’ and Daz funked up ‘Come Out To Play’ with his drumming giving it a new feel. With all of our songs it’s an ongoing process!”

Ronan’s lyrics capture the angst and alienation of youth and the uncertainty of living in these turbulent times. Yet there is always a hint of optimism in the proceedings. In “Helicopters” he proclaims, “I sense the sweetest times between the parachutes, the deadly routes, the start of something new!” “Fearing the worst, I can’t curse myself. I cannot say what I want when I feel. [...] Come out to play,” he pleads in the obvious. In the chorus of “Beau” he declares, “I’m just a past time for her” and asks, “When is she expecting me to falter?” But he then explains that “once she’s got it” he wants to be “the one to rock her.” Ronan’s voice is lucid and buoyant, while his bandmates add texture with their distinctive harmonies. The band’s tight ensemble playing on the mostly uptempo material is enough to make a statue want to dance.

Don’t think this group’s talent has gone unnoticed. After they inked a deal with the Irish indie Reekus Records, “Helicopters” was released to rave reviews and garnered much airplay. An impressive run in the Irish Top 20 allowed SuperJimenez to enjoy more success their first time out than many bands experience after years in the business. Are they striking out for other territories yet? “We’re currently in talks with a couple of labels in the UK,” says Rhys. “We’re working with an English producer and feel that the UK is the obvious place for our music.” That producer is the famed Adrian Bushby, who is overseeing sessions for an album that should be finished by next spring. Meanwhile, check out SuperJimenez’s MySpace page,, for streaming audio and information on how to purchase the band’s music.

Many thanks to Rhys Domagala for the stories, interviews, and song lyrics.

Copyright © 2006 S.J. Dibai. All rights reserved.

[July 16, 2007 update: The first two singles by SuperJimenez have been available on digital music services such as iTunes and Napster for quite some time since the publication of this article. The band's first album is now slated to be released in January, 2008. Visit for more news and music.]

1 comment:

  1. Hey SJ, great article. Im a close friend of the band and to be honest this article expresses exactly my feelings on SuperJimenez and as well as that, it articulates the massive potential i feel they have. Well done. Stuart


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