ALBUM REVIEW: THE O’REILLYS AND THE PADDYHATS- ‘Sign of the Fighter’ (2017)

Hot on the heels of their second album is The Sign Of The Fighter the brilliant new long player from German celtic-punkers The O’Reillys And The Paddyhats. 

paddyhats

Well it only seems like five minutes since we reviewed the second album from The O’Reillys and the Paddyhats and in fact it is. Last November we raved to the high heavens about Seven Hearts One Soul (here) and it ended the year a very respectful #16 (here) in the London Celtic Punks Best Of 2016 poll.

paddy-hats

Formed to play at a local wedding near Dortmund back in June 2011 they have since quickly shot to the top branches of the European celtic-punk tree. These Bhoys and Ghirl hail from the small town of Gevelsberg which is just down the road from the city of Dortmund. The local football team of course being Borussia Dortmond who have long had a kind of special relationship with Celtic supporters going right back to the 1980’s when Dortmond signed Celtic legend Murdo McLeod. As well as that the German celtic-punk scene is among the best in the world with bands such as Mr. Irish Bastard, Fiddler’s Green, The Porters, In Search of A Rose, The Ceili Family and the sadly deceased Auld Corn Brigade spreading celtic music and culture while entertaining the world!

(a teaser for the album giving a quick run through of several songs)

The Sign Of The Fighter is the band’s third album and begins with the title trackSign Of The Fighter’ and it starts off right from where Seven Hearts One Soul finished. I mean if you got a winning formula why bother changing it? A bluegrass tinged celtic-punk epic with a great big chorus ready to shouted out at the top of your lungs. Great fiddle work and a a superb start to proceedings. They follow this up with the more traditional celtic-punk ‘Come On Board’ with more fast paced tales of the ocean. More celtic punk themes next with ‘Barroom Lady’ and their very distinctive sound is aided by Sean and Dwight’s vocals and their familiar shouty choruses that beckon you to join in. ‘In Chains’ has a sort of ska beat to it in places and again the fiddle is cracking here. The album’s first cover is of the traditional sea shanty ‘Haul Away Joe’ dating from the early 19th century. To haul, in nautical terminology, means to pull on a rope and is designed so all the men haul at the same time. The story told is of a sailor who has trouble with his Irish girl and goes to sea, it’s usually played as a acapello song The Paddyhats choose to sing it with the band backing but in a much more subdued style and the song works perfectly. The fiddle, mandolin, banjo, accordion, whistles and wash board are back for the following song, ‘Irish Way’, and its time get tapping your toes again while ‘Interlude’ sets the scene with a little story with the sound of cop cars and water at the beginning which spirals into ‘White River’,the tale of a serial killer ‘on the job’ as it were and is accompanied by a great video below.

(Video by Wüstenberg & Römer)

One thing The Paddyhats are famed for is their videos and again its another top notch production that only adds to the song. Great lyrics though not a subject for everyone’s taste I’d suppose!

“White river washes me clean again
Clean my soul and take away the pain
White river washes me clean again
So the keys to heaven will be mine again”

Pirate ships are back next with the catchy ‘Bucket Of Blood’ while in ‘Old Gang’s Lullaby’ the band slow it down but a chugging guitar keeps the punk spirit intact. ‘Paddyhats’ is up next and is the longest track her at just over four minutes and though I still no idea what one is this is where the band truly hit the heights. It’s all here with the folky instruments leading the way while the fiddle shines and the “Hey Ho” chorus gets the old blood moving. We are nearing the end and ‘Ghost Of A Soldier’ continues the way we have have trodden the previous eleven songs. The album wraps up with the first  proper cover version to be found here ‘The Boxer’. Written by Simon And Garfunkel (here) and appearing on their fifth studio album Bridge over Troubled Water in 1970. The song’s lyrics describe the struggle to overcome loneliness and poverty in New York City. The final verse switches to a third-person sketch of a down and out boxer, who has spent his whole life fighting and is still fighting now.

“In the clearing stands a boxer
And a fighter by his trade
And he carries the reminders
Of ev’ry glove that laid him down
Or cut him till he cried out
In his anger and his shame
“I am leaving, I am leaving”
But the fighter still remains”

Its a return to the bluegrass tinged celtic-punk of the early songs on the album and though I hate to say that a cover is the album standout I have to here. The Paddyhats stamp their name all over the song and bar the “Lie-la-lie…” chorus you’d have a job to nail it down. A fantastic choice of cover and a brilliant way to end The Sign Of The Fighter.

paddyhats

left to right: Fitzgerald O’Brien (Bass) ; Sean O’Reilly (Acoustic Guitar, Flutes, Lead Vocals) ; Emily O’Farrel (Fiddle) ; Dr. Bones (Drums) ; Ian Mac Fannigan (Backing Vocals, Washboard, Chain) ; Dwight O’Reilly (Banjo, Mandolin, Accordion, Backing Vocals) ; Ryan O Leary (Step Dancer) ; Connor O’Sullivan (Electric Guitar)

Celtic-punk can sometimes feel a bit bland on record. After all it is designed to be heard in the public house as it is the official feel good music to the world but The O’Reillys And The Paddyhats have done a top job of transferring their great live sound onto record.paddy-wagon-17 The production here is amazing and is completely faultless. The band play with an passion and pride in Irish music and culture that is a joy to behold and constantly find it within themselves to come up with a fresh and original approach to their music. Whether it’s their amazing videos or their amazing artwork The O’Reillys And The Paddyhats put their everything into the band and it shows. They are already in the top division of the German scene and with output of this quality their name is spreading beyond their local scene and we look forward to seeing them in Germany on the London Celtic Punks Euro tour in September for the Paddy Wagon festival. Lots of great bands including The O’Reillys and the Paddyhats and a whole host of other bands we have featured in the London Celtic Punks site and that we never thought we’d get to see. If you are interested in joining us then contact us and we’ll add you to the event so we can make arrangements nearer the time.

Discography

2012 Sound Of Narrow Streets * 2016 Seven Hearts One Soul * 2017 The Sign Of The Fighter

Buy The Album

FromTheBand  Amazon

Contact The Band

WebSite  Facebook  YouTube  Google+  Spotify  PaddyhatsMerchandise

The scenery of the places and towns is footage of fans. They were asked to film their ‘home’ or those places that mean ‘home’ to them. You will see Mexico City, Dresden, Dusseldorf, Munich, Gevelsberg, Schwelm, Hagen, Usedom and many more. The Song ‘Fair Old Lady’ is about a man who sees his hometown as an old lady that breathes and lives just like a family member.

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