Bouts: “There were times when we played the same chorus for an hour, just for Barry to get a melody”

WHEN HALF your moderately successful, edgy rock band relocate to another country, that would, more often than not, mean the end of things. But not for Bouts.

The Dublin grunge-pop act have made distance a virtue, meeting sporadically for fierce bursts of musical activity, and building new song concepts via a busy WhatsApp group and a sheer drive to continue. Five years after finding themselves split across borders, the four-piece return with their best work yet, second album ‘Flow’.

“Barry [Bracken, vocalist] had moved to London in 2014, and then Niall followed over there not long after. That kind of meant we weren’t in a position to do any gigs,” drummer Daniel Flynn remembers. “We recorded some songs before they left.”

“It’s been about five years since we last toured. We released an EP [titled ‘Unlearn’] on cassette in 2016, but didn’t play any shows. Barry lives in Amsterdam now. Niall is still in London, but was in Laos for a while. There was a pretty major break on at that stage.”

“We officially decided to do another record a couple of years ago” guitarist Colin Boylan explains. “There were four really quite intense sessions to make ‘Flow’. The first was in London. Then we got a cottage for a few days in Connemara, and wrote about 15 demos, some electronic, some not. Then the last two sessions were done in Dublin over quick weekends.”

“We had the stuff from the London sessions that myself and Barry and Niall had done, rough sketches of ideas,” Flynn says. “We sent them around, and they floated around in our brain for a while. Barry had worked out a few other songs in Amsterdam, and he sent them up. When we all got back together, we had the starting points.”