Russian beer-core legends have been around for over 20 years and as strong as ever giving us fast HC influenced celtic-punk with beer, pirates and a Russian mentality!
One of the highlights of the last few years has been the emergence of Russia as a celtic-punk powerhouse within the scene. Middle Class Bastards have blown us away with everything they have done (here) and the recent Tribute To The Pogues compilation album (here) showcased exactly what Russia and some of the other neighbouring ex-Soviet Union countries have to offer. From beginning to end it was simply magnificent and is still available as a free download. One of the common themes is that most celtic-punk bands veer a line that takes in The Dubliners, The Clash and The Pogues while a lot of the Russian /eastern Europe bands take a different route that includes Scots rather than Irish folk music and hardcore punk like UK82 bands like The Exploited or GBH.
With all the songs sung in Russian its not going to be easy to do a review but will try my best and at least introduce you to a band that deserves to be heard across the world. The Pauki (translates as the much less interesting The Spiders) hail from Russia’s second-largest city after Moscow, St Petersburg. It is said to be the most westernized city of Russia, as well as its cultural capital so all forms of music are popular there and to that we can now add our own as well. The Pauki began playing in September 1991 so are one of the longest running celtic punk bands in existence, let alone Russia, so its about time they had a bit of coverage outside their own country.
Their seems a very clear sea-faring theme throughout the album with the opening track ‘Мы Никто’ beginning with the sound of the ocean before bagpipes wail in followed by electric guitars and you may think its heading into celtic-rock territory but then a thundering bass and all of a sudden the song takes off with the band all singing along before Sasha’s main vocals kick in and wrap around the song perfectly. Comparisons to Middle Class Bastards can’t be helped but hey they are fecking brilliant so whats it matter. ‘Doomsday’ is straight up punk and stands up well for it while the bagpipes are back for ‘Маски’ a really catchy tune and one of the album highlights. ‘Живой’ is an old song re-recorded and is fast as hell with Exploited style rapid drumming driving it along. Another catchy as hell one in ‘Поганый Drug’ follows and again is straight up bagpipe punk. Another re-recorded song next in ‘Я Вижу’ and the bagpipes are loud and proud. Expertly played and clear as day in the excellent mix. ‘Морская Задорная’ has the flute leading and easily makes the song the most ‘traditional’ celtic-punk song on the album with a famous Irish ‘air’ dotted throughout the song. The gang vocals are a great touch and nowhere better than on ‘Die Die’. ‘Тортуга Ждёт’ begins as a sea shanty before the chugging guitar and pipes and more gang vocals join in. Another top song on this album. We are nearing the end and having listened a lot to this in the car with the sound right up and the window down ‘Куда Девался Рай?’ came as a right shock. Shouty vocals and acoustic instruments and a sort of calypso thing going on. Still great just unusual! Well if that was a shock then ‘Kivema (12345 Remix)’ nearly made me hit a tree! Bloody techno I tells you. I’m not a fan as you can probably imagine but as its stuck on the end as a bit of a piss take then I can except it. A dance beat over the band shouting away with the occasional burst of guitar its certainly a novel way to end a celtic-punk album!
The title of the album is Isla de Muerta, in English ‘Island of the Dead’. Famous now for being the famed mysterious phantom isle in the Caribbean Jack Sparrow wanted to find in Pirates Of The Caribbean. No map marked the way so the treasure of Hernán Cortés remains to be found by whatever buccaneer or adventurer would like to claim it. Super happy I came across this album. Like most of you out there I’m coming into celtic-punk with a love of both folk And punk so sometimes I love to hear something with a bit harder tougher edge and I certainly got that from The Pauki.
Eleven tracks, all written by the band, that comes in at thirty four minutes with a couple of re-recorded old songs and that techno mix! The Pauki take the bagpipe punk of bands like the Real McKenzies and take it to the next level. The added elements of Russian and hardcore punk definitely give them something extra and mark The Pauki as a band to follow. I really loved this album and goes to show that you can have a bit too much folk in your life sometimes.
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