Debut album from Limerick's Bleeding Heart Pigeons Is real deal

Alan Owens


Alan Owens

Debut album from Limerick's Bleeding Heart Pigeons Is real deal

Glory awaits: Limerick's Bleeding Heart Pigeons - Míchéal Keating, Brendan McInerney and Cathal Histon Picture: Matthew Thompson

BLEEDING Heart Pigeons, one of the most exciting bands to emerge from Limerick’s rich, yet often overlooked music scene, mark their recent debut album release with a gig this Friday night.

The trio – Cathal Histon, Míchéal Keating and Brendan McInerney – play a hometown show Upstairs in Dolan’s for booker Seoda Shows, who has long championed the West Limerick band.

Signed to Virgin/EMI, Bleeding Heart Pigeons have refined an eclectic, ambitious style that is delivered to stunning effect on the debut album Is, which has drawn praise from all corners and may yet be among the front runners for next year’s Choice Music Prize.

That is some way off yet for the fledgling trio, who met a number of years ago at Croagh School of Music.

Míchéal Keating and Cathal Histon went to school in Newcastle West, while Brendan McInerney went to school in Rathkeale. The like-minded trio stayed in touch after the summer school and later formed Bleeding Heart Pigeons, entering a battle of the bands competition in 2009.

A number of years honing their craft in a farmyard shed, converted into a studio, followed before gigs in 2012 brought them to the attention of Virgin. Yet, they were given time and scope to record the album and the influences on Is suggest broad reference points on what is a dreamy, eclectic and downright quirky album.

Stellar gigs at Body and Soul and Electric Picnic last year helped to give the trio a profile ahead of the album’s release this February. 

Keating, in a letter released along with the album, admits that “coming from a very traditional, devoutly Catholic, humble rural background, this whole thing was probably quite unlikely".

“My head is somewhere else, scattered in the internet, in music, films, books and art made by people from all over the world, people trying to find their place, people like me, Brendan and Cathal,” he writes.

“This album documents a few years when these changes were emerging. I used the songs to help navigate my brain, as I came to realise how vulnerable I am as a person in this world; afraid of being alone subject to my own and others' merciless desires and emotions, afraid of inevitable death, loss, change or any kind of tragedy that could strike at any moment. 

"Putting all these despairs to music with Cathal and Brendan makes me feel like I can own them, even if it is just for the duration of a song.”

Is is out now. See for more.