ALBUM REVIEW: CIRCLE J- ‘Year Of The Goat’ (2015)

Hard hitting celtic punk from the Lowlands

Circle J

Grab your pint, put your fist in the air and scream along!

The first ever gig we ever put on under the banner of London Celtic Punks was way back in August,2009 and starred these fantastic celtic-punkers from Holland. Since then they have popped up on the internet loads and despite releasing a cracking album, ‘Weekend Warriors’, in 2010 and an even better EP, ‘Diggers’, in 2012 they have not really been recognised much on this here web-zine. This we will rectify today with a review of their new mini-album. Too big for a EP and not big enough to describe as an full album ‘Year Of The Goat’ is seven songs and over twenty minutes of celtic-punk delight!

Circle J Live

left to right: Ed, Jasper, Tomba, Remi and Marianne

Formed back in 2002 every release by Circle J has been received extremely well by both fans and critics alike and with ‘Year Of The Goat’ you get pretty much more of the same but hey that’s no bad thing when that same is as good as Circle J’s. Their reputation has spread well beyond their native Netherlands too as shown by their recent announcement on their Facebook page

“Circle J finally tops the charts! More than 6000 illegal downloads from a certain kind of torrent-site in 3 days. It won’t pay our bills, but it’s kinda funny and punk”

so no one can accuse them of being devoid of a sense of humour!

The album begins with ‘The Ones We Left Behind’ and the bagpipes and banjo and electric guitar throw up an almighty clash and we get off to an almighty start. Over before we know it and ‘Fields of Pretend’ comes  right up at ye! Again the electric guitar drives it along and keeps proceedings firmly in celtic-punk territory. Jasper’s furious banjo picking comes out nice and clear and if you like that sound then Circle J are one of the best bands in the scene. Two songs in and the energy level is busting through the roof!

The whole band is giving it their all but even Circle J cant keep it up for ever and they slow it down a wee bit for ‘Warrior Monkey Princess’ with tin-whistle shining through and Tomba sounding like an American pop-punker . The song may be slow but still has a heavy sound and the electric guitar is still present and they cant resist speeding it up near the end anyway! ‘Lost And Found’ could easily be any number of recent English bands we have reviewed here like Jack Of All and Under A Banner. Beginning with acoustic guitar the song gets well under way before the rest of the band join in. An under stated song but one of the stand outs for me. ‘Jenny’s Song’ returns Circle J to what they do best a rocking celtic-punk number with the band playing very strongly together and the chorus of ‘sha la la’ ringing in our ears as well as a few Oi! Oi! Oi!’s as well.

Sadly ‘Year Of The Goat’ is coming to and end and ‘Beyond the Edge’ continues with the drums, metal guitar, mandolin kicking of a hell of a racket before Tomba’s voice comes in and the track sails off with him crooning away. The whole thing ends with ‘Knockapoulka’ a grand old Irish traditional stylee instrumental with… watch the video below and you’ll get the gist. Getting faster and faster you can bet this song has seen plenty of beer spilt in its time. Not a favourite of the person who has to clean up after the gig I would imagine. Short and sweet, a lot like the whole thing to be honest.

Circle J are certainly one of the European celtic-punk scenes more famous and popular bands and deservedly so. They tour like mad and their record releases are without doubt regularly among the best when end of year polls and Top Tens are done. We are ever hopeful they will return to these shores again soon and we’d just like to add that in those six years we have got a lot better at organising things as well!! Watch out for Circle J washing up in your town or at nearby festivals and get on your toes to catch them. You will not regret it!

Year Of The GoatBuy The Album

FromTheBand  iTunes  AmazonPlay

Contact The Band

WebSite  Facebook  YouTube  Twitter  MySpace  LastFM

*there’s a great review of ‘Year Of The Goat already posted in the excellent  ‘Celtic Folk Punk And More’ web-zine site here be sure to check it out.

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