EP REVIEW: THE KILLIGANS – ‘Dread Naught’ (2022)

The first new release from Lincoln Nebraska natives The Killigans since 2018’s Dance On Your Grave. A 4-track EP written by different members of the band.


It sometimes seems that the only way to get any success out of the Celtic-Punk scene is to tour like bloody mad. This may be true but sometimes bands get the popularity they deserve from the quality of the music they produce. One of those bands is The Killigans who on the face of it don’t seemed that bothered and I’m not aware they tour like mad but they have become pretty well known in the Celtic-Punk scene outside of their home in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Formed in 2004 many, many folk have passed through the Killigans hall of fame but their core has remained consistent through out. A combination of Foot-stomping beer-loving raucous anthemic numbers drawing from traditional Celtic and European Folk music along with Streetpunk, gritty Rock ’n’ Roll and working class ‘alternative’ Country. Dance On Your Grave took five years to complete so one thing we can be sure of is that these fella’s don’t rush things and take their merry time. The EP’s four songs here include a traditional cover, though not from any of the Celtic nations, and interestingly three songs written by different members of the band. Not something you hear of a lot. How has it worked out though?

The EP opens with ‘April ’95’ a song written by drummer Mikey Elfers and it’s a great opener. A lively Punk Rock number that has that unmistakable Killigans hooks and feel to it. Fast and catchy as hell the Celtic instruments are there but so much is going on that they get a bit overwhelmed. The song takes in the awful bombing of the Federal Building in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995, that killed 168 people, 19 of whom were children, and injured more than 680 others. ‘Black Lung’ is written by banjo player Bob Okamoto and unsurprisingly the banjo is prominent here in a song that owes much I think to Eastern European Folk. The use of brass instruments with trumpet and trombone played by brothers Pat and Chris Nebesniak is very bloody cool and adds loads to the sound. A different style but maybe this was the idea by getting different songwriters on board. Anyhow it works a treat and still sounds unmistakably like The Killigans. The imminent release of the EP was announced with the release of the great video for ‘Who Stole The Keeshka’ a traditional Polish Polka song  about the theft of the singers keeshka or sausage (the word is Slavic in origin and means intestine). The song was written by Polish-American Władysław Daniłowski (Walter Dana)and Walter Solek in the early 1960’s.

(Directed, filmed and edited by: Jared Staab, Produced by: Jared Staab)

A bouncy, happy number that sees the boys getting the chance to dress up an go to town. The sound is of course not a million miles from the EP’s namesakes who have made a career out of Polka-ised Folk-Punk since their earlier days as a Celtic-Punk band. An interesting note here is the similarity of Polka to music from the northern part of Mexico, música norteña, which was influenced by German settlers in Texas around 1830 which gave Mexican Folk music the famous Polka ‘oom-pah-pah’. The EP ends with ‘Man Of The People’ written by guitarist Brad Hoffman. It’s a older song dating from October, 2020 and they save the best for last. A serious subject for the band about politicians of all shades using any means and saying anything to trick you into voting for them. Slow but not ballad-like and sung with conviction the music takes in a few extra unexpected instruments you don’t usually hear but a great song overall.

The EP was engineered and mixed by Jeremy Wurst at Coyote Face Studios in their home town and mastered by Don Gunn. A great EP and as already mentioned nusically diverse from beginning to end with all four songs completely different but still Killigans-ish. Go figure !

(You can stream / download Dread Naught on the Bandcamp player below)

Download Dread Naught  Bandcamp

Contact The Killigans  YouTube  Facebook  Instagram

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