The founding fathers of Ukraine’s celtic punk movement and the originators of ‘Stout Rock’. A blend of Irish, Scottish, Breton and Finnish folk with a variety of rock and metal styles.
ShamRocks formed in 2009 in Kiev in the Ukraine. With a mutual love of traditional Irish and Scottish music, Finnish polkas, ancient sea shanties and good old fashioned punk rock and metal they set about introducing the people of Ukraine to some out of this world modern adaptations of classic folk songs. Combining traditional melodies played on the violin, mandolin, flute, and accordion with head-banging riffs that are both heavy and danceable at the same time. Their debut album Captain’s Log is a collection of the best of ShamRocks songs since they were formed from their first demo to their last studio sessions. The tracks have been professionally mixed and re-mastered to successfully recreate a ‘crowded pub’ feel.
Captain’s Log kicks off with ‘The Blood Of Cuchulainn’ and will be instantly recognisable to many of you as the theme tune to the 1999 Irish-American movie The Boondock Saints. The film features several celtic-punk numbers and has become a must see of the celtic-punk scene. Written by brothers Jeff and Mychael Danna it also featured in one of the battle scenes from Braveheart and is a rousing spirited instrumental and a fantastic way to start proceedings. Though the original includes bagpipes the ShamRocks version doesn’t distract by playing it with fiddle instead. Chugging guitars and accordion ensure we slip nicely into ‘Leaving Of Liverpool’. A classic of Irish (and British) folk music. Perhaps overdone a little but I’m sure not so much for a Ukrainian audience. The song starts and is unrecognisable before finally exposing itself. Top marks to the boys for recording trying something different here with a ska beat and trumpets and all sorts going on with all the time the song bursting in and out of celtic-punk and even Dub! Collected by Richard Maitland, who learnt it on board The General Knox around 1885. The lads next give a straight up, heads down version of the Dropkick Murphys ‘I’m Shipping Up To Boston’. Without that bagpipe player ShamRocks have to try something a little different and again they manage to pull it off easily. A really good version though to be perfectly honest I’m yet to hear a bad one! Instrumental ‘Kaalifornipolkka’ is an absolute corker of a song. The chugging guitars are back, the accordion is pushed to the fore and the band gang vocals it with “Hey” every now and then. Celtic-punk pure and simple! We’ve another Irish folk standard next and if any Irish song was designed for smashing a beer glass on and off a table to then it is ‘The Wild Rover’. Not a song you hear too much in celtic-punk circles but its up there in the Top five Irish songs of all time. Again it’s not just a cover and ShamRocks throw plenty of their own selves into it with a lovely accordion tune in here. ‘Lord Of The Dance’ is funnily enough a is a hymn with words written by the English songwriter Sydney Carter in 1963. We use to sing this at school when I was a child and to be honest we loved it as it made a change from some of the more stuffy old hymns that would bore the pants off you. Later it became a football chant with a few line changes for Chelsea! With growling death metal like vocals ShamRocks play with it and when it come’s to cover versions they never take the simple route.
“I danced on a Friday when the sky turned black;It’s hard to dance with the devil on your back.
They buried my body and they thought I’d gone;
But I am the dance, and I still go on”
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