Six years since their last EP and nine since their last LP news of the upcoming release of this, Blood Or Whiskeys 4th studio album, kind of took us all by surprise here. After such a long time of inactivity the news was literally music to our ears!
Formed way back in 1993 in Leixlip, County Kildare, Ireland they were one of the original celtic-punk bands and have inspired most of what passes for celtic/folk punk in the scene in the last 20 years. Sneered at by the purists at home in Ireland for trying to make traditional music more relevant they escaped to the continent and the States and years of heavy touring. Eventually that took its toil and the line up changes over the years have become legendary! Legal battles with their record labels, the untimely death of band member Alan Confrey and those line up changes all contributed to the bands lengthy hiatus. All a great shame as they seemed at the time to be well on the way to if not international stardom at least international punk rock stardom. Several appearances at Rebellion Festivals around Europe had seen their popularity blossom but then it all came to a grinding halt. So it was good news to hear the imminent release of this but is the weight of expectation too great?
Well for your coin you get 11 songs clocking in at 33 minutes and from the very start its that original Blood Or Whiskey sound we love so much. Have to add though they aint just gone back and re-recorded one of their old albums because they now sound like a hybrid of Pogues/Clash/Specials. From the first track ‘Dirty Aul War’ the ska beats collide with the punk which collide with trad sounds but all in that unmistakable BorW way. The addition of brass instruments later on in the track ‘Gone Or Forgotten’ is genius.
Touches of dub in ‘Seanie O’Keefe’ show the bands progression musically despite having both feet firmly in the celtic-punk scene as Chris states in their recent interview in Shite’n’Onions
“Yes we are without doubt a part of the Celtic Punk scene simply by the instruments that we have in the group and that is a good thing, it always makes me smile when I see how far Irish music and our culture has travelled, we have played everywhere from the US to Japan and all over Europe and every where we go there is a love for this small nation it makes you proud to be Irish and proud of all the great music and musicians from Ireland that came before us and managed to influence people all over the world. Going from what I have just said the Celtic punk scene makes me personally proud to be Irish as it shows me how the rest of the world loves and enjoys Irish music and culture. I’m not sure why there has not been many other bands from Ireland playing Celtic Punk because you do get other bands mixing folk with rock etc just not so many doing the Celtic Punk thing. Maybe it’s because the Punk scene isn’t as big here in Ireland as it is in the likes of the US and Europe, mainly due to the size of our population I suppose.”
The album never gets going in a punk rock way in the same vein as say ‘Cashed Out On Culture’ but there’s plenty here to have you leaping around your living rooms and their almost certain to come rocking up near to where you live wherever in the world that is!
The boys have self funded the release themselves so they’re gonna be doing plenty of touring to flog it but you can get it from all the usual places so check the links at the end. ‘Emigrant’ is the obligatory song about the scourge of emigration that has haunted the Irish race for centuries now. ‘Cannibal Economy’ and a instrumental ‘Black Pits’ bring the album to a close and its over way too early. A massive return to form and cant wait to see them live now. Glad to have you back Blood Or Whiskey go straight to the front of the queue.
you can read the interview with Chris and Dugs original members of the band from Shite’n’Onions here
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