Debut album from Spanish Celtic-Punk hooligans Reina Roja. Seven songs and a song or two you’ve never heard done quite like this!
Back when we started doing this Spain was a major player in the Celtic-Punk scene but over the years things have gone a little quiet. Their are still some great bands and releases (this years album from Drunken Fighters for starters) but I think the decision to retire the Spanish based web-site Celtic Folk Punk And More had a knock on effect. The bands are still there but we hear less from them and about them. One of the bands out there that are new to us have actually been together for eight years! Reina Roja formed in 2014 in Rivas-Vaciamadrid, a suburb of Madrid in central Spain. Their name means ‘Red Queen’ and though many faces have changed in the band from those early days the commitment to Hooligan Folk remains the same. Their style of music perfectly captures the traditional melodies of Folk and Celtic music but played fast and hard and with a freewheelin’ Punk-Rock attitude that the band themselves label as Hooligan Folk.
“the festive atmosphere and full of attitude that is generated in a neighbourhood party, after a game of the local team or at the bar of a bar. An atmosphere of celebration, but that does not forget the daily problems and that underpins the consciousness of the working class.”
The album kicks off with the spirited ‘Dragón Verde’ and instantly the tune goes into ‘Drunken Sailor’ but then veers off again. Plenty of gang vocals and that stop-start Hardcore approach that I particularly love. The fiddle and tin whistle is amazing and put to such great use too. The lyrics are all in Spanish, something we don’t mind at all. Bands shouldn’t be afraid to sing in their own languages. These days Celtic-Punk is international but bands still prefer to song in English despite by it’s very nature the English language being a foreign language in the very places where Celtic music comes from. Still it does make things easier for me when it comes to reviewing! The catchy ‘Sigue Luchando’ sees Agnes, vocalist of Lilith y Miss October, starring alongside Gonzzz on vocals. Their is a certain way Spanish Punk bands sound making them instantly recognisable even when not sung in Spanish and Gonzzz’s voice is strong and shouty but still tuneful and able to hit them notes well. ‘Tensión’ comes from their earliest days as a band and hits all the right catchy as f*”k buttons. Chugging guitars and pounding bass and drums all combining for one hell of a sound. ‘Johnny. ¿Qué Ha Pasado?’ is trad Celtic-Punk with a real Irish tinge to the first half showing a real talent for Folk music that you must have to be a successful Celtic-Punk band and ending with a cool terrace chant! ‘Banshee’ flits along between Metal and Punk but still with the Celtic influence leading. Reina Roja are joined for a second time here on guest vocals for ‘Lo Que Nunca Fuimos’ by Fernando Madina of Reincidentes and Ángel of Envidia Kotxina and is in much the same vein. Fast,catchy, tuneful, spirited Celtic-Punk party music. Hooligan Folk comes to an end with ‘Barriles de Revolución’ and this may, or may not, be a drinking song as the English translation is ‘Barrels of Revolution’! They save the fast till last and go out in a blaze with the same winning formula.
Only seven songs but 25 minutes of music means the songs all have time to develop and Reina Roja use the time well. Punk songs tend to be short and even at three minutes bands tend to wrap it up as soon as possible so it’s nice to hear longer songs that still keep the attention. As amazing as it was to only just hear of a band that had been together as long as this the biggest surprise was that this was their debut release. What have you been doing guys? The album was recorded and produced at the Corleone studios by Mr. Chifly the guitarist of Habeas Corpus and he has done a grand job capturing things especially the Celtic instruments. Hooligan Folk is a great album capturing the spirit of Celtic-Punk perfectly.
(Stream / download Hooligan Folk from the Bandcamp player)
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Tagged: Drunken Fighter, Reina Roja
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