The Black Tartan Clan are back! Having re-located from Belgium to Spain one of Celtic-Punk’s greatest ever bands return with a fantastic new album.
It was a dark day back in 2017 when The Black Tartan Clan sadly called it a day. With five releases and a Greatest Hits behind them the bands founder and joint songwriter MacTouche had decided to up sticks and re-locate to Spain. This did cause a bit of upset among other members of the band and they have re-grouped as the Black Tartans and have also recently started to record new music too. MacTouche still had an interest in making great Celtic music so the band has re-started with new members but the task was made many times harder by the Covid lockdown. Last March though the band were finally able to get together to rehearse and then to finally play live. The original version of The Black Tartan Clan were famous for their amazing bagpipe sound. I’d go so far as to say they were even the best band in Celtic-Punk for their piping. Here though the pipes are gone and all the pipe parts are replaced by guitar. The Black Tartan Clan keep their Celtic-Punk sound but in a much harder way.
A New Beginning is not quite a new album as all the songs have previously appeared but the bands new style gives them a lift and while it would be hard to improve on them they certainly give it one hell of a go. The opening track is the band’s anthem ‘We Are The Clan’ from the 2014 album Scotland In Our Hearts and its a hard rocking affair and the guitar sound not a million miles away from The Skids. You can still hear the pipes through the guitar and MacTouche’s gravelly vocals haven’t changed much, thank Heavens, as he sings in both English and French. ‘Don’t Walk Alone’ comes from the album of the same name from 2013 and again it’s straight down the line hard rocking but catchy with it. ‘Ye Jacobites’ is an (very) old Robbie Burns poem put to music countless times but usually with a distinctly Folky influence but not here!
Three songs in a row now from the 2014 Scotland In Our Hearts album. ‘Scotland In Our Hearts’ is the first and you can imagine exactly where the pipes would be and you know what it works. I wasn’t too sure before I played it but aye. It must be incredibly hard to perform minus the thing you’re band is famous for but the guys have pulled it off even if their sound is now a bit more towards hard rock it still has all it’s roots in Celtic-Punk. ‘Piper Bill’ was always one of my favourite BTC songs and they do it justice here.
The last couple of songs start with a great ‘Friends Until The End’ and then the album ends with the appropriate ‘Toora Loora’ from Don’t Walk Alone. Only a handful of songs and hopefully it will serve it’s purpose to let the Celtic-Punk scene know they are back and though different they are still great. It’s absolutely brilliant to see these guys back and proving they’ve plenty left to give as well. Listening to this had me pulling out all my old Black Tartan Clan albums. It’s a hard rocking album but I needed an album like this as I been listening to too much Ewan MacColl of late!
The Black Tartan Clan back catalogue is all available on Spotify
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