Sweden’s Finnegan’s Hell have created a new branch of Celtic-Punk by adding influences from Hard Rock, Hillbilly Country and Swedish Folk.
The band that the press called the kings of The New Wave Of Swedish Celtic Punk focus on melody and singalongs on new album One Finger Salute.
The Finnegan’s return with a new album and just like The Ramones they are not related and also just like The Ramones everything they do is golden! It barely seems like five minutes since their top three album Work Is The Curse Of The Drinking Class when it is in fact a couple of years. So more than enough time for this prolific bunch to get new album on the decks.
Now well into the second decade the Bhoys from Malmö, Lund and Gothenburg have had plenty of success along the way and one look at some of the live performances on their You Tube channel will tell you how popular they are as well. They even found time to record ‘The Boys In Green Will Conquer‘ for the Ireland team for Euro 2012. This led to them being described in the Irish media as
”They’re hard to describe, but just imagine a blend of Metallica and the Kilfenora céilí Band and you’d be about right.”
Everything they release gets a thumbs up from the Celtic/Folk-Punk media and they are fairly unique in the scene as they tend to receive plenty attention from the wider music press and, again, always very positive.
The album begins with ‘What Have You Got In The End?’ a short sharp burst of fiery tin whistle led proper Celtic-Punk in a tribute to all workshy Celtic-Punk rockers everywhere who question the benefits of working hard. The excellent video was produced and directed by Michael Ek, like all the videos featured here, who dug deep into the Swedish National Archives to find suitable images of Swedish life to illustrate the message behind the song. As with everything Finnegan’s Hell put their name to their attention to detail is incredible. ‘One Finger Salute’ was the first single to come out from the album and again accompanied by a fantastic video, the song with it’s infectious chorus is sure to evoke a sea of audience middle fingers when played live. The third song to be released prior to official release date was ‘Mickey Finn’ and by now we getting the taste of what this album is all about. Fast, furious bursts of energetic Punk-Rock but played through a filter of traditional Irish Folk music. Now a ‘Mickey Finn’ is a alcoholic drink laced with drugs given to someone without their knowledge. Named for a late 19th-century Chicago-Irish bartender and pickpocket who was notorious for drugging people’s drinks. Many of us, not me mind (!), have blamed their obnoxious drunken behaviour on being “slipped a Mickey”!
Only ten songs on the album is a wee bit of a gripe but Finnegan’s Hell are very careful to make sure only quality makes it on board so maybe that’s why. Next up is ‘Read My Lips’ and from here on these songs are all new to me and their fans. If I thought the previous songs were pacey then I wasn’t prepared for this which comes out like a Motorhead where Lemmy was influenced by the Dubliners rather than Nazi Germany! I’ve often said that to be a top draw Celtic-Punk band one of the things you have to master is the ballad and Finnegan’s have always turned out a great one. Here it is ‘Godforsaken Town’ with the lyrics setting the scene brilliantly of a town dying on it’d feet as people flee for better opportunities. Reverend Mick never sounds better on this album while the music is sparse giving Mick’s vocals all the more emphasis. Tin whistle leads us into ‘Run Boy Run’ and we’re back on more familiar territory with a tale of a life gone bad leading into ‘Comin’ After You’ and the excellent banjo and accordion in a dark fist in the air singalong. Less serious matters see us out starting with ‘I’ll Make It Up To You’ a trad Irish romp and the darker ‘Nothing Left To Lose’ which between them tell the breakdown of a marriage albeit with plenty of humour. The curtain comes down on One Finger Salute with ‘Oh Death’ and a Nick Cave / Tom Waits / Celtic-Goth number that sees them go out in style.
Back in Sweden, Finnegan’s Hell are lazily labelled ‘The Swedish Pogues’ by a music press that only thinks of The Pogues when it comes to Celtic and Irish music. It’s always going to be something that Celtic-Punk bands will have to put up with (I even saw the Dropkick Murphys compared to The Pogues once!) but at least they share the same kind of infectious melody and straightforward lyrics even though Finnegan’s Hell have cranked up the volume and the tempo. They may not be about re-inventing the wheel but what they are about is taking Celtic-Punk and wringing every single bit of fun out of it and they achieve that mightily on One Finger Salute. Tip of the hat to you Bhoys.
Buy One Finger Salute Sound Pollution Records
Tagged: Finnegans Hell