Formed from the ashes of cult Irish band The Mitcheners, Rezo – the duo of Colm O’Connell and Rory McDaid – released their debut album Travalog this week. It’s a wonderfully trans-Atlantic affair drawing on elements of folk, Americana and indie, recorded separately in lockdown from their home studios in Dublin and Malaga but always sounding close, with a refreshing positivity threaded throughout.
Asked to describe the record the pair responded, “Travalog is a musical travel diary. Recorded remotely its creation was as reliant on computers and virtual instruments/loops as much as real instruments. All produced with a very natural, analogue feel. Real singing. Real harmonies. Real guitar. Buzzy strings. Fingers squeaking across the fret board. An analogue travel log. Travelogue. Travalogue. Travalog if Americanised to acknowledge the connection with our folky American cousins. From CSN&Y and The Everly Brothers to Sufjan Stevens and everything in between”.
Given the globe-trotting subject matter of the LP, we asked Rezo to take us on a musical journey around the world – check out their Travalog playlist below:
- The Trip by Still Corners
Gorgeous guitar sounds. Hope Sandoval (Mazzy Starr) style vocals and nostalgic super 8 video. What’s not to love? Definitely our kind of thing sonically and visually…
2. Around the World by Daft Punk
It’s impossible not to move when you hear this. The song title and the fact that they are (were??) French is as good an excuse as any to revisit this banger.
3. Lost at Sea by Rezo
One of the more electronic tracks on our forthcoming debut album Travalog, this carries a serious message, inspired as it was by the Syrian refugee crisis as observed by Rory while living in Turkey. Abandoned suitcases, lifejackets on the beaches all serving as a grim reminder of all those who desperately attempted to cross the Aegean Sea to the nearby Greek Islands.
4. Angeles by Elliott Smith
More a song about the music industry in LA and a reluctance to sell out than travel per se. A big influence on us. Beautifully sad and melodic. The lure of LA, seeing it through rose-tinted glasses, sunshine, beaches, The Beach Boys, Californ-I-A…
5. El Picador by Calexico
Another huge influence on us – think widescreen cinematic spaghetti westerns, mariachi bands and all that goes with that. This tune captures the essence of Calexico and the reason we love them!
6. Take the Long Way Home by Supertramp
Yeah OK so we’ve just outed ourselves…😮 Yes, we do like Supertramp and not even ironically (gasp!). Great vocals and harmonies and a tune that simply sparkles with that late-70s super group production!
7. Walk on the Wild Side by Lou Reed
Not strictly speaking a travel song but truly dripping in New York City cool and for that reason alone deserves to be here. Again we can only marvel at the masterful production, the backing vocals, saxaphone and that iconic fretless bass…
8. Last Train to Clarksville by The Monkees
Deserves to be here for that guitar lick alone but the reference to place names and modes of transport make it doubly, triply qualified!
9. Streets of Your Town by The Go-Betweens
Probably the poppiest and most commercially successful of the Go-Betweens canon, nothing says sunny Brisbane like this does. The fact that Colm tried to hunt down Grant McLennan on a visit there in 2002 is a story for another day!
10. Out of Time by Blur
OK not strictly a travel song – more about the Universe, Time and Space – so that qualifies in our book! This lopsided ballad with torched melancholic vocal is in our view one of Blur’s (and Damon’s) finest moments.
11. The Crystal Ship by The Doors
Is there any finer example of Jim Morrison’s rich baritone voice or the virtuosity of Ray Manzarek’s keyboard skills? An absolute classic. We have no idea what this is about but the reference to a ship surely qualifies it!
12. Hoppipolla by Sigur Rós
Yes, we have no idea what this is about either but then you could say that for all Sigur Rós songs! Still, nothing says glacier like this lot! Simply breathtaking!
13. Lullaby of London The Pogues
From their criminally underrated “If I should fall from the Grace of God” album, nothing evokes the harsh underbelly of London for the emigrant classes like this song, and all to a beguiling air that says butter wouldn’t melt! Sensational!
14. Girl from Margate by Rezo
Starting life as a tasty meld of beats, bass and synths and ending up as our quintessential pop offering, this track was inspired by Alan Yentob’s moving BBC interview with Brit art enfant terrible Tracey Emin.
15. Memphis Soul Stew by King Curtis
A meal of a tune – nothing says soul like this brew. A pinch of organ, bring to the boil, and BEAT WELL. This is gonna taste awright!
16. Chicago by Sufjan Stevens
We fell in love with this the moment we first heard it on the soundtrack to Little Miss Sunshine all those years ago – the quintessential road movie. And what a movie. What a tune! One that still stands up.
17. Blue Ridge Mountains by Fleet Foxes
With vocals and harmonies as pure as the Colarodo spring water that trickles off the titular Blue Ridge Mountains (if that is indeed where they are??), this is heaven-sent!
18. Ponta de Lanca Africano (Umbabarauma) by Jorge Ben Jur
A fine example of this legendary Brazilian singer’s fusion of samba and soul – this is a late night staple on the Rezo record player.
19. Get Back by The Beatles
Need we say more?
20. Passenger by Siouxsie and the Banshees
One of those rare examples where the cover is as good as the original. The quintessential travel tune: “Get into the car. We’ll be the passengers. We’ll ride through the city tonight. We’ll see the city’s ripped backsides…”
Travalog is out now. Find out more on Rezo’s official website.
Introduction by Paul Maps