Another superb release from one of the best bands from one of the best and brightest celtic-punk scenes in the world from Melbourne band Between The Wars. Released on the bands own label ‘Slippery Slope Records’ and we can surely say it will not disappoint! We had the pleasure of putting on Jay Stevens, BTW’s vocalist, London gig when he came over to play a few gigs in October. To celebrate that we interviewed Jay and he spoke about the band and his song writing style.
celtic bands that tell stories – and not just stories of drinking. The difference between listening to the Wolfe Tones rather than the Dropkick Murphys means perhaps a little bit more storytelling in the writing
and that is one of the huge differences between Between The Wars and most celtic-punk bands. Theirs a real sense of history and yes, story telling in their songs akin to those old Irish folk bands we love so much like the Tones and The Dubliners.
The music is acoustic led with not that many electric instruments popping up but still sits proudly in celtic-punk! We’ve often talked about the difference between ‘folk-punk’ and ‘punk-folk’ and I’d say this is the latter with acoustic guitar, ukulele, mandolin and violin dominating proceedings. The album kick’s off with ‘Worst Enemy’ and straight away its the recognisable BTW sound we know and love “my worst enemy is me” Jay spits out over one of LPs fastest and catchiest tunes. Like a lot of BTW releases the ocean features strongly, understandable given Australia’s history and those celtic people who washed up on the shores there. The standout track though is also the most serious ‘Goodnight Sweetheart’ tells the story of the blitz in the east-end of London. The jauntiness of the song belies the subject matter like a lot of their material its layered in a way to make you think and there’s not enough of that in music. The fiddle work throughout is simply breathtaking and carries you along while Jay tells the tales. As well as the ocean theirs also a obsession with bittersweet tales of love like the beautiful ‘First Train Out’ which has you until the last few lines and then drops you like a ton of bricks! Theirs influences here of country as on ‘I Won’t Ever Get Between My Woman and Her Whiskey Anymore’ and punk as on ‘I’ll Dance On Your Grave Maggie Thatcher’ which was written by John McCullagh and tells the story of his dad who was a coal-miner and fought a year long battle against the state on strike to stop pit closures. My dad worked alongside Johns on that pit face so this song hits a real nerve. There’s plenty of anti-Thatcher songs out there now but none quite capture the hatred for her like this one. Let this song be her legacy.
The album ends with another ‘ocean’ song ‘A Sailor’s Lament’ that begins with a acapello intro before sliding into a slow and soft tune and then bursting out into more recognisable BTW territory.
Each Between The Wars release shows their development as one of the top acts in the scene today. That they refuse to stand still and rely on their trademark sound is to their credit and though you never know exactly where their going with their next song you know it’s going to be a great one!
Contact The Band
Buy The Album
Slippery Slope Recordings (and listen to it too!)
- Interview With Jay Stevens From Australian Band Between the Wars (londoncelticpunks.wordpress.com)