We have discovered a new English Celtic-Punk band from Telford in the Midlands and The Endings have only been together for twelve years! Today we review their recently released new album of Celtic-Folk-Punk with an Irish flavour.
The Endings are a new band. Well new to me but not I dare say to the good people of Telford in the English midlands. Telford was conceived only in 1963 as part of post-war reconstruction. A time that saw a succession towns built from scratch. Named after road builder, civil engineer and architect Thomas Telford who, contrary to popular belief, was not responsible for Ironbridge Gorge, which gave its name to the World Heritage Site beside the River Severn, but he was Shropshire’s Surveyor of Public Works in 1787, which seems a long stretch to name the town after him! So all in all a fairly typical English town. A town like many across England that it’s residents are proud of. So proud indeed are The Endings that they nearly also get a mention as The Endings Telford. In these times where any sort of love of place or home is written off as chauvinism I love the idea of The Endings showing this pride in where they come from.
As I say The Endings may be new to me but they have been around over a decade playing the pub circuit around Shropshire and occasionally a little further afield. New blood in the band and a bit of inspiration has the last couple of years though seen them spending most weekends on the road gigging and with regular performances at festivals the opportunity to support bands such as Ferocious Dog and Mad Dog McCrea has arrived. They play their own style of uptempo Irish music that is designed purely only to keep the dance floors occupied. They have one previous release, Coda from 2019, which marked the start of their move away from being purely background noise for busy pubs into a band that people will aim to go and watch. Even so 2 albums in over 10 years may sound mean but isn’t unheard of when bands are caught in the cycle of gig-gig-gig-gig. If you want to show yourselves off to the bigger world then you do need to make time to record but then you also need to make those recordings available and these days that means making downloading an option. These are things that The Endings need to think about as their music deserves a much bigger audience and with more than half the readers of this site from overseas it’s a must-do.
Completely Pickled (an English euphemism for being drunk in case you didn’t know) opens with ‘Gemini’ and tells the story of a night out on the lash at the 1970’s-80’s Shropshire nightclub Gemini. If anyone remembers our review of Pronghorn (“Kings of Cowpunk”) a few weeks back then this isn’t too dissimilar except with a definite Celtic edge to it. Catchy and with a real foot tapping beat to it. Next we have ‘Time & Tide’ and the song carries on in the same vein with some excellent musicianship on display. Rob’s vocals are clear and precise and sit on the fence between Punk and Folk where he can shout if he likes but also do a wee bit of ‘proper’ singing as well! Next up is ‘Water Gypsy’ and a number about the Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood who said his families generation was the first to be born on dry land with a lineage dating back to the 1700’s of working on the water. His family were English ‘‘bargees’ (river or canal barge workers) and Ronnie affectionately referred to them as ‘water gypsies’.
(‘Water Gypsy’ Live at Farmer Phil’s August 2021)
The mandolin here leads the way as Rob introduces us to a little known part of Ronnie’s life and I hope he gets to hear the song. ‘Press Ganged’ is a standout track here as it introduces a couple of other influences to the mix as it reminds me of The Men They Couldn’t Hang at their peak in the 80’s in both style and subject matter. This could so easily have made Waiting For Bonaparte especially when the song suddenly speeds up halfway through. Next up is a song close to my own heart with ‘Importance Of Guinness’ and a proper good auld instrumental Irish romp in tribute to the black stuff. Truth be told though Guinness doesn’t hold a candle to Beamish!
(‘Importance Of Guinness’ Live September 2022)
‘New Lands’ is a about buying a one way ticket to Australia, another subject that The Men touched on. Stories of the sea are quite the feature of Celtic-Punk and The Endings seem to be fond of them too with ‘Raise The Sails’ up next. I must say though that it’s been quite the while since a more ‘folky’ album landed with all original compositions and I’m motre than happy not to have to sit through another version of ‘Drunken Sailor’, as good a song as it is! While a lot of the songs here could be decades old (‘against modern football – against modern music’) on ‘Ragged Man’ the sound is more recent but if I did have one point to make on the album it would be that the sound here could have been beefed right up. With the pounding beat it needed a more heavy touch. ‘Madness’ tells of the er.. well er… madness of those couple of years where the world closed down. Looking back now it seems like such a long time ago.
(‘Juggling Time’ Live September 2022)
‘Smuggler’s Cove’ starts with some rather nifty mandolin and I think this where I keep getting TMTCH in my head while I’m listening. Another great song with a real thigh slapper / head nodder of a beat. We are nearly at the end and ‘Juggling Time’ and while I find juggling quite an amazing spectacle I also find jugglers very irritating so it’s a good job this isn’t about juggler then! This I think could just about be the albums standout track with its catchy danceable sound. ‘Gallons Of Pale’ is another tribute to alcohol this time to the wonders of Pale Ale. The CD rounds off with what is described on the sleeve notes as a bonus track, with an excellent instrumental version of ‘Juggling Time’ and then the curtain comes down.
(You can hear the whole of Completely Pickled via the You Tube play-list below)
Completely Pickled was recorded and produced by Tom Carter at The Riff Factory just up the road from them in Stoke and singer-songwriter Jess Silk supplied the album artwork. Like their debut album it has been produced and self-funded by the band themselves though I’m sure they open to offers. Their are bands like The Endings in many English towns and cities fusing Irish / Celtic music and English Folk and Rock and Punk influences and while many are content to simply drift from pub gig to pub gig playing covers its great to see a band like The Endings trying to develop their sound, write their own songs and reach out. The success of bands like Ferocious Dog and the bands that have followed in their wake over the last few years show their is an audience for music from the likes of The Endings and with a decade long start over most then they ought to be near the top of the list to listen to.
Buy Completely Pickled Spotify
Contact The Endings Facebook