Mandolin, Banjo, Electric Guitar, Bass and Drums
Brisbane Australia Celtic-Punk
We are very lucky at the moment for the band that I consider to be the best celtic-punk band in the entire fecking world has embarked on a epic European tour that will eventually take in Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales. Yes The Rumjacks have already flown the coop and left Australia and at the moment are probably wandering round some city in mainland Europe taking selfies and boozing it up with the local celtic-punk brigade. Now if I have said it once here on the London Celtic Punks blog then I have said it twenty or thirty times that the best celtic-punk band in the world is The Rumjacks and the best celtic-punk bands in the world are Australian. Maybe its the history of Australia and the way the country was founded or the massive migrations (some forced some not!) of celtic people that made it that way but their bands tend to have something really authentic about them and especially lyric wise they definitely dominate. Well just the other week I received the new album from Fox n Firkin a band I had heard of before but knew very little about except that they shared a record label with the awesome Tasmanian celtic-folk-punkers The Dead Maggies so with that in mind I thought I would rather like them and rather like them I surely did!
Formed in early 2012 in the capital city of Brisbane in Queensland in eastern Australia Fox n Firkin have taken the harder edged route into celtic-punk and though they would probably be nearer to the Dropkick Murphys than Flogging Molly but they don’t sound much like the Murphys either. One of the things about the Aussie celtic-punk scene is how they manage to find new approaches in what you would think is quite a narrow genre and make it really original. Fox n Firkin are no different to their peers and have a fresh original sound that fuses those celtic and folk instruments like mandolin and banjo to quality punk rock melodies. Fiercely independent they released a couple of DIY EP’s but have recently joined up, and have found the perfect label to support them in, Folk Till Ya Punk Records. They produced their first independently released EP To Hell And Back in May, 2013 and was produced By Fox n Firkin and Greg Arnott and is available as a ‘name your price’ download on Bandcamp below.
They followed this up with another brilliant 4-track EP ‘Roppongi’ release on December 1st, 2013 which if you buy the CD contains the best version of ‘Waltzing Matilda’ you will ever hear I fecking promise you.
Released on April Fools Day this year this debut album from Fox n Firkin is ten quality punky celtic-punk tracks with that unmistakeable Aussie sound that we go absolute ape shit for here at London Celtic Punks. Ten songs that clock in at just over half an hour and includes nine original F n F compositions and only one cover. No Vacancy kicks off with ‘Drink The Lot’ and from the first few bars of mandolin you know you are in for a treat. Catchy and tuneful punk rock with a load of folk influences chucked in as well. Bit of an anthem this I would suspect and good for getting the crowd joining in the simple but effective chorus. ‘My Country’s Shame’ follows and tells the story of the birth of Australia under Britain’s glorious control and the genocide and oppression they heaped upon the indigenous people. Faster and again the mando to the fore and a Rancid/Bad Religion feel to it. ‘No Vacancy’ was the lead single from the album back in March preparing the world for the album that was to come. The song has a bouncy ska feel to it and unlike the rest of the album has no swearing! I realise its almost a criminal offence to say you’re not a big ska fan but there you go. I much prefer the rest of the album myself but, don’t worry, I know I am in the minority here! The song is about the reaction in Australia to asylum seekers, refugees and economic migrants.
No Vacancy continues with ‘Long Road From Hell’ one of the (slightly) slower tracks and also one of the most celtic-punk tunes here. Banjo appears and the fits the song superbly and again as catchy as fecking hell. On hearing ‘El Condor Pasa (If I Could)’ you may think it familiar and you’d be right. Written by Peruvian song writer Daniel Alomía Robles in 1913 and made famous by 60’s folk pioneers and legends Simon and Garfunkel.
“I’d rather be a hammer than a nail
Yes I would”
A brilliant song and hats off to them for choosing such an unusual cover to record. Makes a change from ‘I’ll Tell Me Ma’ at any rate.
‘Days Long Gone’ and ‘The Violent Majority’ follow and the sound is shifting about thanks to the use of banjo and mandolin in different songs but still following that trademark Fox’n’Firkin sound. ‘Bastard Brigade’ is another drinking song and the celtic is turned right up on this. Another one for the crowd to sing along to and punch the air. Nearly at the end and the fastest song here ‘Too Hip 4ZZZ’ puts the boot into shite music and music radio that only play trendy crap. Have to say that F n F never sound more Aussie that on this song! No Vacancy comes to an end with ‘Burn The Rich’ and no explanation of the lyrics is needed I am hoping? Another great track that doesn’t sound like the rest of the album but is far from a novelty song I tells you.
So after their first two EP’s I have got to say that Fox’n’Firkin have really hit the jackpot here with No Vacancy. A quality debut album that from beginning to end is just catchy as hell celtic-punk rock with great vocals and lyrics. On the punkier side of things but refreshing to these ears that they are doing their own thing and not aping any band I have heard recently.
“fusing traditional Irish instrumentation and melodies into blistering catchy punk rock”
is how they describe themselves and you know what? I couldn’t put it better myself!
(you can have a sneaky free listen to ‘No Vacancy’ by pressing play on the Bandcamp player below before buying!)
Buy The Album
Contact The Band
- read the review posted by our mates at Celtic Folk Punk And More here won’t ya?