The Blades were an Irish New Wave band from the 1970s and 80s.
The Blades began in the summer of 1977 with five friends got together to play a gig in the Catholic Young Mens Society hall in Ringsend. The band were thrown out for playing The Sex Pistols single God Save the Queen; the organisers thought it was the British National Anthem.
The line up was whittled down to three - Paul Cleary (b. 9 September 1959) on bass and vocals, his brother Lar (b. 2 June 1957) on guitar and friend Pat Larkin (b. 25 November 1956) on drums.
Even from that early stage, the band's unashamed working-class origins and integrity marked them out from the more elliptical art rock being pioneered by U2 and The Atrix.
The band regularly played in Dublin's infamous venues like The Magnet on Pearse Street, McGonagle's on South Anne Street and The Baggott Inn on Lower Baggot Street which they did a six week residency with U2.
Their first single 'Hot For You' was released on Energy Records in 1980, followed by 'Ghost Of A Chance' in 1981 which they played on The Late Late Show.
Reshuffle and continued success (1982-1986)
After Lar and Pat left the band, Paul switched to guitar bring in drummer Jake Reilly and bassist Brian Foley (ex. The Vipers) and add a brass section "in homage to Stax, Motown and Dexy's Midnight Runners".
The band signed to Irish label Reekus, and a double A-sided single, 'The Bride Wore White'/'Animation' was released in March 1982. In the Hotpress National Poll, 'The Bride Wore White' was voted best single while The Blades were voted 'the most promising act in Ireland' and Paul Cleary 'best Irish songwriter'.
In 1985, Reekus released the album 'The Last Man In Europe'.
One of their last gestures was to shun Self Aid, a 'backslapping' concert "to highlight the chronic unemployment problem in Ireland at the time" and instead played the socialist 'Rock the System' Concert in Liberty Hall in 1986.
In 2001, Reekus records released a Double CD Boxset "Those were the Day", which includes both Albums: "The Last Man in Europe" and "Raytown Revisited".
Paul Cleary continued with backing band The Partisans and later led an eight-piece pub rock band called The Cajun Kings. He also released solo material. In 2001, Paul released his first new material in 15 years, the 11 track album 'Crooked Town.
Imagine unearthing the Rosetta Stone and perhaps you'll understand the importance of releasing the definitive The Pin Group recordings. The Pin Group, who came and went in the brief period between 1981 and 84, was the jumping-off point for the New Zealand pop lexicon: The tinny guitar jangle, sidelong lyrics, flitting bass and intangible bottom-of-the-world sensibility are all there.But the band also launched the careers of guitarist Roy Montgomery, bassist Ross Humphries (stints in Bailter Space and The Great Unwashed) and drummer Peter Stapleton (Handful of Dust). The Pin Group was an odd bird. With the survival instincts of a kiwi (they played infrequently and pressed small issues of records that didn't even bear the band name), the trio was bound to lose. But this collection encapsulates quite brilliantly the pop minds at work on the South Island all those 16 years ago. The raucous "Columbia" and haunting "Long Night" hint at the band's potential. A send-up of The Red Crayola's"Hurricane Fighter Plane" shows off chops and a tongue in cheek cover of War's "Low Rider" reveals a sense of humor. Two blistering versions of "Ambivalence" grace the record, on which Montgomery sings, sounding here asthroughout like a wry Ian Curtis, "You seem to want to shroud your motives/ Were they ever there?" While it's uncertain whether underachievers The Pin Group ever had much motive themselves, it's clear that the makings of brilliance were there all along. — Brian Howard