A great week for Celtic-Punk fans with four new singles from four bands that are both well spread out geographically as well as musically showing that the scene is more diverse than ever before. Saying that the most ‘Poguest’ of all Celtic-Punk band Greenland Whalefishers knock it out the park once again with their new single.
Now well into their 28th year Greenland Whalefishers have steadily become one of the most famous and respected and well loved bands in the Celtic-Punk scene. You would be right too to think that coming from Norway didn’t help in a scene where Celtic roots are sometimes given too much importance. The hard working band have toured just about every corner of the globe from their home in Bergen. Around long before the Murphys and the Mollys they have always been compared favourably with the kings of Celtic-Punk – The Pogues. They may have an unmistakable Poguesy sound (think first three albums) but they are in no way a covers band. They may sound ‘more like The Pogues than The Pogues are’ but with their constantly developing sound every album (of which their have been many) sounds fresh and innovative.
So how did we end up here again ?
Didn’t history teach us anything ’bout all the fucked up shit back then ?
Once again we’re killing each other, sister and brother, cannon fodder !
Another nation crying out for help in vain
So let’s drink to the brave and pray for the poor, and cry for those who lost a daughter or a son.
Let’s fight this war and let music be our gun !
In the end it doesn’t matter what words I say, what I think, what I feel or what chords I play.
It doesn’t really matter if I’m sober or drunk, ’cause after all… this is Celtic Punk !
So how can stand aside and just look?
When we were warned about it in all the history books !
Once again we’re bombing each other, father and mother, dead in the gutter !
The most Poguest of all Celtic-Punk bands Norway’s Greenland Whalefishers are back again with a new song from their upcoming new album.
Now in their 28th year Greenland Whalefishers have certainly put the work in to get where they are with tours that have took them from their home town of Bergen to just about every corner of the world. Around long before the Murphys and the Mollys they have always been compared favourably with the kings of Celtic-Punk – The Pogues. They may have an unmistakable Poguesy sound (think first three albums) but they are in no way a covers band. They may sound ‘more like The Pogues than The Pogues are’ but with their constantly developing sound every album (of which their have been many) sounds fresh and innovative. This new song from Norway’s unpolished Irish-Punk pioneers again shows their band that can do no wrong!
‘St. Patrick’s Day Drinking’ is a song that celebrates if not the holy aspect of the day but certainly the social aspect! I remember as a kid seeing the normally pretty staid adults around me really let their hair down and celebrate the day when their was no shame but pride in being Irish. Shamrock, the colour green, mass, pre-paid postcards from home, maybe Val Doonican on the telly if we were lucky but always with a drink involved. Now I’m older and barely wiser (certainly not more than those immigrant grafters who put up with so much but never let their chins drop) and it’s my turn to celebrate them and all they mean to me on March 17.
The song celebrates in particular the legendary London Irish Publican Michael ‘Butty’ Sugrue back in 1969 who in the London Irish stronghold of Kilburn gets in some practice in his pub as regulars watch him lift a two hundred weight barrel of beer above his head. Butty Sugrue was best remembered as the man behind Muhammad Ali’s bout against Al ‘Blue’ Lewis in Dublin in 1972, but he was originally known as Ireland’s Strongest Man. One of his most celebrated feats of strength included a tug of war with Butty taking on thirty men live on the BBC on the Simon Dee Show.
ST. PATRICK’S DAY DRINKING
Shovelling shit all through the winter.
March 17th seems so far away.
In the weekends you ́re a pro Day
Drinker.Down at the pub singing Galway Bay
And before you know it it ́s March again.
Grab your Scally Cap and call up your friends.
Trespassing, drunk, throwing stones.
You are bad to the bones
Sink down some Whiskey and throw on some Cologne
’cause now we ́re all going St. Patrick ́s Day Drinking.
Yes its been rather slim pickings so far in 2021 for Celtic-Punk fans. There’s been a few gems (The Black Clover, Real McCoys, The Peelers, Sean Tobin and, of course, the new Dropkick Murphys album) but if there’s one band that can be relied on for providing some decent tunes it’s Ogras! The six-piece band from western Norway shot onto the scene last year with the release of their album No Love In The City. The album went on to hit the #1 spot in the Best Of 2020 polls for both us and Paddyrock and never before had we both agreed on the best Celtic-Punk album of the year. Not bad for a band no one outside Norway had heard of 12 months previous.
One of the joys of Ogras music is not just the music, though that is damn good, is the stories they tell within the song. These guys have truly embraced the ancient Irish way of the Seanchaí who would roam the land recording and then telling the history and stories of the old ways. That Ogras can tell a tale within the confines of a three or four minute song is an amazing feat and all a million miles away from the usual drinking’n’fighting we usually hear. On No Love In The City it was circus performers, outcasts, freaks and other round pegs in square holes while the follow up single ‘Sideshoe Hallelujah‘ stayed in the same territory and the hypocrisy in cheering for the sideshow freaks during the show and mocking them afterwards.
We’ve seen trouble
in kerosene light
We’ve seen murder
over methanol delights
And we’ve seen worries
in the cold, cold rain
And we’ve seen pain
There’s a shadow in Red Hook
It’s there day and night
Through the smoke of ol’ barrels
You can see the Brooklyn lights
But it’s home to the queen, the mayor
the wolf and to me.
So we’ll stay here
We’ll cry here
We’ll pray here
We’ll die here
We’ll never grow old
So we’ll make us a life here
It’s home to the queen, the mayor
the wolf and to me.
Love’s the only thing brave girl
Love’s the only thing to slip away
I still miss the old country
Sometimes I even miss the snow
I keep my dreams to myself
So no one can ever know
That this is the home to the queen, the mayor
the wolf and to me.
Ogras new single ‘Red Hook’ is a gospel-infused up-tempo Folk-Rock tune, as always done with a very particular acoustic/electric mix. The lyrics are inspired by the horrific stories of poor and unemployed Norwegian immigrants to New York 100 years ago. The homeless gathered in a community called ‘Ørkenen Sur’ (‘The Bitter Desert’) in Red Hook, Brooklyn. At a time when people from every European nation were fleeing from poverty, oppression and unrest in search of happiness and prosperity in the States, between 1825 and 1925 almost a million Norwegians left for North America. Roughly a third of the entire population of Norway, a higher proportion of any other country other than Ireland. Those early immigrants were almost all farmers so settled in rural areas in the Midwest becoming the most rural of any group arriving in America in the nineteenth century. Others, mainly sailors, were drawn to the city where competition for jobs and housing were high and many slipped through the gaps thankful for a place where they would find if not material needs at least a little comfort and love.
“Between barrels, pipes and in wrecked cars they made their home and where they lived, in summer and winter. Instead evolved into a separate small community.”
The setting for both On The Waterfront and Last exit To Brooklyn, Red Hook was, in the 1990s, named in Life magazine as one of the “worst” neighborhoods in the United States and as “the crack capital of America”. A legacy no doubt of how much was cared for the working classes and the places they lived. Today the Norwegian diaspora in the States is the tenth largest from Europe and the ancestors of those early settlers still celebrate their roots and traditions in high numbers.
Ogras (left to right) Knut Peder Voldset – Guitars * Aleksander Eidsvåg – Fiddle * Filip Eidsvåg – Drums * Thomas Dahle – Bass * Pål Elnan – Piano, Organ and Trumpet * Paul Solåt – Vocals
‘Red Hook’ was recorded at Ocean Sound Recordings in Norway and mixed by Jordon Silva (California), known for mixing The Avett Brothers, Flogging Molly among others. The video was shot in the landfill docks of Åndalsnes and, as usual, made by the exceptional one-man production team of Thomas Dahle.
Well here we go again. It seems an awful long time since we were compiling all the votes into 2019’s Best Of. Last year saw The Walker Roaders triumph but with this year being a lot quieter on the Celtic-Punk front thanks to the lockdowns around the world bands have found themselves unable to tour and promote new releases so have held onto them till things got better. Still that’s not to say it was a complete wash out and as you can see from below their have been some absolute knock-outs during the year.
Remember this is only our opinion so feel free to comment, slag off or dissect our lists. The Readers Poll is back again this year so you can even vote on your favourite release of 2020 yourself. We don’t pretend to be the final word as that my friends is for you…
(for more information click on the release title in green)
Was very close between the top three this year but Ogras seem to have been not only our favourites but also most of the Celtic-Punk medias too. A lot less albums may have come out during the year but still plenty more that didn’t make the cut. Don’t be down hearted if you are one of them it could just be that one of the judges hadn’t heard that album. Again if we don’t hear your album we can’t review it so the massive majority here are ones that were sent in to us. We only need a download link (NO Spotify!) and we’re happy. Out of the 30 albums 18 countries were represented including 2 from the Celtic nations Scotland #4 and Brittany #13 and our first from Hawaii!
Several bands have taken the chance during the lockdown to release compilations of sorts. While it would be a little unfair to include them in the main ‘Best Of’ section they still deserve a mention. Among these were two 30 year celebrations from two of Celtic-Punks most successful and popular bands in THE MAHONES – This Is All We Got To Show For It and FIDDLER’S GREEN – 3 Cheers For 30 Years. Both fully deserve a round of applause, a raise of the pint and a tip o’ the hat! Band compilations included ANTO MORRA – Twenty, THE DEAD RABBITS – The Dead Rabbits, LEXINGTON FIELD – Here’s To You Ten Years Of Fiddle Rock and LQR – Barrel-Aged. A couple of live albums THE STANFIELDS – Welcome To The Ball and ShamROCKS – FCP Livewere both well received, you may have heard that a little known band THE POGUES put out a new album of previously unreleased materialBBC Sessions 1984-86andQuintessential Quarantuneswas a 6-band compilation released in the Summer featuring the Bible Code Sundays and The Reels. MacSlons Irish Pub Radio also released volume 5 of Raise Your Pints the best Celtic-Punk sampler around of 19 of the Celtic-Punk scenes best bands.
You have to go back to the beginning of January for 1916’s release and though many more would challenge it stayed top of the pile all year long. Some great debut releases here from bands that will I am sure go on to bigger things. This time last year I was crowing about Shanghai Treason and how much I was looking forward to seeing them play… well I still am!
This year’s winner of Best Debut Album comes from a continent where Celtic-Punk appears to be booming! The South American scene has been dominated in the past by bands from Brazil and Argentina (last years winners in this category were Aires Bastardos from Argentina) but with Batallón de San Patricio from Guadalajara in Mexico things are changing with several bands popping up over the last couple of years. The last twelve months have seen Batallón de San Patricio garner favourable reviews from various singles and live streams. Hermanos De Guerra/ Brothers Of War is delivered entirely in Spanish and spans the length of Celtic-Punk from trad Irish up to Celtic-PUNK making it fully deserving of the award.
Always the hardest list to compile as it covers so much ground. Some of these bands play Trad Folk with a Punk Rock heart like Clover’s Revenge while others didn’t quite fit as Celtic-Punk releases but the winners are the Rose family from NY state otherwise known as The Wild Irish Roses. An album that took us by surprise and managed to please everyone.
Now this section is tinged with sadness. There is no question which site has the biggest impact on the Celtic-Punk scene over the last year and while not strictly a web-site the CELTIC PUNK, FOLK AND ROCK FANS group on Facebook fully deserved this years award. Sadness because the group founder Mike Kilroe very sadly passed away at the beginning of the month. Created back in February 2019 it was around the time of last years ill fated St. Patrick’s day and the subsequent Dropkick Murphys live stream show that membership of the group exploded and has now passed over 8000 members. If on Facebook they should be your first port of call, alongside us of course! We had a great interview with the founder of the group Mike back in May that you can find hereand of course our thoughts go out to his family and friends.
We are not alone in doing these Best Of 2020 lists in fact all the major players in Celtic-Punk do them so click below to check out what they thought.
So there you go. Remember we have never pretended to be the final word on things in fact have a look at the other Celtic-Punk media’s Best Of’s and I’m sure they are all pretty different. Our Best Of’s, as usual, cajoled and bullied out of the admins from the London Celtic Punks Facebook page and then tallied up over a few pints in Mannions in north London. One important thing to note is that not all of us heard the same albums so like all the various Best Of’s ours is also subjective.
Nine years we’ve been doing these lists now. It seems incredible looking back at some of the previous winners and also-rans how so many bands are still with us from Year 1. If you would like to check for yourself then just click on the link below the relevant year.
Alongside the Best Of polls we also run a special Readers Poll where you get to pick your favourite release of the year. This will be The Readers Poll’s third year with Krakin’ Kellys and Mickey Rickshaw previously champions! There is only room to list the Top Ten albums but there is an option to write in your favourite release of 2020. You are allowed to vote for up to two releases but not for the same artist.
The Poll will close at midnight on Sunday 31st January with the result announced soon after.
Sláinte, The London Celtic Punks Crew- January, 2021
Ogras are a six piece Celtic-Punk band from Norway that shot to fame this year with the release of No Love In The City acclaimed as one of the best Celtic-Punk albums of 2020.
Back in April an album dropped through the digital letterbox at London Celtic Punks Towers that’s fair to say blew us all away. No Love In The City, the second full length studio album from Celtic-Rockers Ogras from western Norway, hasn’t been off our stereo since! On Friday they released their new single recorded in the world renowned studio Ocean Sounds Recordings and accompanied by a music video, shot in Aalesund. Joining Ogras on bagpipes is Anders Norudde, from the famous Swedish Folk music band Hedningarna/The Heathens.
OGRAS – ‘SIDESHOW HALLELUJAH’
Hear the Big Top windjammer
(Hear the screamers, all you dreamers)
I play the very sound of sin
To the drum beat of the sledgehammer
(Hear the screamers, all you dreamers)
The euphonium will lure you in
And as I sit there, I observe
Your angry eyes, I think we struck a nerve
This masquerade is challenging your faith
It’s hard to love when you’re so full of hate
And you all scream hallelujah,
You say that we sin, but it’s the world we’re living in
We’re tired of “How do you ya do” now!
It’s one – two – three, and we’ll punch you on the chin
You think you caught us by surprise
(Hear the screamers, all you dreamers)
Surrounded by your ragged friends
We play the Stars and Stripes Forever
(Hear the screamers, all you dreamers)
We know how the story ends
Ogras last album No Love In The City while not quite a concept album told varied stories of travellers. Those who up sticks and take to the road. Tales of outcasts, freaks and other round pegs in square holes. Most of the songs centred on circus performers and their difficult and lonely life on the road. ‘Sideshoe Hallelujah’ tells of a fictional travelling circus in the USA about 100 years ago and the hypocrisy in cheering for the sideshow freaks during the show and mocking them afterwards. Payback is due!
No Love In The City stands out as one of the highlights of 2020 and it’s great to hear new music from the guys. They promise another single release in early 2021 before their next album, due next year.
“No Love In The City came as a complete surprise to me. Expecting wild Poguesy style Irish Folk what we actually get is on of the most imaginative and novel Celtic-Punk records of recent years. With it’s tales of circus strong men and disasters and bleak dark themes all wrapped in music that stays firmly in its own lane with influences from the American scene that we don’t often hear in Europe and from the East that Ogras incorporate into their own sound. A truly magnificent record and one that be can already be guaranteed to be one of the albums of the year.”
Not only that but they also had one of the standout Live Streams since the ‘clampdown’ playing a full band set aboard the MS Progress a 1914 built former fishing boat these guys showed why are they rapidly gaining a name for themselves in the Celtic-Punk scene. Well they just re-mastered and re-cut the show and put it up on You Tube so please I implore you to make yourself comfortable and feast your eyes and your ears on this magnificent production.
The second full length studio album from Celtic-Rockers Ogras from western Norway.
Their distinct sound mixes trad Irish music with rock and punk and a twist of Balkan with superb tales of the macabre and the best songwriting I’ve heard in a long time.
Of all the countries in the world famous for their Celtic-Punk output one of the more surprisingly famous ones is Norway. This is thanks to the legendary Greenland Whalefishers who have taken their particular brand of Pogues influenced Irish-Punk across the globe to every continent in their 25+ year history. It was bound to have an effect on the locals and back in 2009 the seeds were sown for the band that would become Ogras. The band hails from the Romsdal area of Norway, and have just one album behind them, the promising Compadre in 2018. Celtic-Punk can be different to a lot of other genres in that with a few tweaks to the set and the addition of a few covers most bands can find live work every week of the year thanks to the massive Irish pub world. This can mean that bands tend to concentrate less on recording than maybe straight up punk bands do who play live a lot less. Even so two albums in eleven years is pretty slow but admittedly then again two in three is very impressive!
Ogras left to right: Filip Eidsvåg- Drums * Knut Voldset- Electric Guitars, Banjo, Harmonica * Paul Solåt- Vocals, Guitar, Main Songwriter * Pål Elnan- Trumpet/ Keyboards/ Mandolin * Aleksander Eidsvåg- Fiddle * Thomas Dahle- Bass *
Based where they are they get to play in just about every conceivable kind of venue, especially barns! Starting off as a three piece they soon gathered more members and now their are six of them who can handle up to twelve instruments on stage whilst performing a combination of circus show, revival meeting and drunken Irish-pub night! here on their new full length album, No Love In The City the band have recorded nine original tracks, showing a range of influences from catchy, Celtic and Balkan inspired Punk-Rock, to smoldering folk-ballads and full blown party anthems.
I was going to just do a straight forward review of the album but just as i was about to start the band began releasing a track-by-track description of the history behind each song so I’ll try and incorporate those here as well. The album begins with the title track ‘No Love In The City’ and while we may be looking for a Greenland Whalefishers connection Ogras have much more in common with bands like The Fighting Jamesons or The Young Dubliners and their Irish-American rock sound. This is a band that would go down a storm at Get Shamrocked! Paul’s vocals are spot on and capture that perfect space between ‘Tom Waits’ and showman crooning! No Love In The City tells of the wandered. We weren’t all born to exist in the city and the song is dedicated to travelers everywhere. The next song ‘Showmen’s Rest’ was the third song released here as a single. A fast paced Punk tribute to entertainers long gone and the deadly Hammond Circus Train Wreck of 1918. In a quiet cemetery outside Chicago called Showmen’s Rest lies a mass grave of clowns, strongmen, and acrobats who died in one of the worst circus tragedies in history when 86 circus performers were killed. I love songs like this that tell us of long forgotten history and I’m kind of surprised Chicago folklore extraordinaire Kevin Flynn hasn’t told this fascinating story before. ‘Children of Dust’ carries on in the same vein a catchy foot-tapper telling of the children of those who travel. Ogras love of the macabre and circus life continues in ‘Running Wild’. A wonderful song telling the story of twins, one of whom dies at birth while the other blamed by his mother for his death. A never ending feeling of guilt keeps him running till he eventually finds circus ringmaster Darius, a recurring character throughout the album, but will it be enough for him to stop running. A upbeat rocker with great fiddlework followed by ‘The Mighty Atom’. The Mighty Atom appeared on the cover of Ogras debut album and became a world famous strongman in the early 20th century. Born Joe Greenstein he was small and sickly as a child but he trained and trained to become one of the world’s best known strongmen, bending horseshoes with his bare hands and biting the heads off nails. The song is heavily influenced this time by Balkan music with a Eastern flavoured fiddle and brass.
We slow down a tad for ‘The Devils Dance’, a swirling eastern-ish electric ballad about a women who finally breaks free from her manipulative and violent lover. He continues to hunt for her determined to make her dance the devil’s dance again? Half way through the song speeds up and really comes into its own. ‘Black River Falls’ is the shortest song and possibly the fastest and yet still manages to fit in a well told story into its two and a half minutes! The song is based on the 1973 book ‘Wisconsin Death Trip’ by Michael Lesy based on a collection of late 19th century photos and clippings from gruesome times in Black River Falls (Jackson, Wisconsin) in the late 1800′ where unemployment and illness had lead to crime, depression and a high number of unpleasant incidents. Needless to say its a high octane Celtic-Punk romp that leads us nicely into ‘Torture King’ about the current craze for tattoos.
Beginning as a maudlin sad ballad Gaelic fiddle is the catalyst for the band to step it up and go a bit crazy! The album ends with the powerful ‘For Gloria’ the bands tribute to the strong women who spread joy, take care and protect their families. We raise our glasses to you, ladies! A great way to wrap things up and their is something great about hearing a trumpet pop up in the middle of a Celtic-Punk album! A punch bowl of hard hitting Irish folk mixed with electric guitars and that trumpet!
The album was released on St. Valentines day- 14th February and was recorded in the renowned Norwegian recording studio of Ocean Sound Recordings. Though originally on CD and download No Love In The City will be released on vinyl at the beginning of April. No Love In The City came as a complete surprise to me. Expecting wild Poguesy style Irish Folk what we actually get is on of the most imaginative and novel Celtic-Punk records of recent years. With it’s tales of circus strong men and disasters and bleak dark themes all wrapped in music that stays firmly in its own lane with influences from the American scene that we don’t often hear in Europe and from the East that Ogras incorporate into their own sound. A truly magnificent record and one that be can already be guaranteed to be one of the albums of the year.
Buy No Love In The CityHere (iTunes, Apple, Spotify etc.,)
Long time thought of as ‘more like The Pogues than The Pogues are’ Norway’s unpolished Irish-Punk pioneers Greenland Whalefishers show they can also adapt to new sounds with their new album garnering applause from all over the internet.
Now in their 25th anniversary year Greenland Whalefishers have done as much as anyone has to keep The Pogues flame burning bright. Beginning in the small bars around their home town of Bergen in Norway they played their very first concert on the 8th March, 1994 and haven’t looked back since. With album and single releases now well into double figures, gigs and tours across most of the world and appearances in several major films they have slowly, but surely, built up a global fan base and all done off their own backs. They were one of the first bands to develop the sound made popular by The Pogues taking British punk attitudes and sound and combining it with Celtic/Irish folk influences and from there all roads lead to what we call today Celtic-Punk.
One of the most striking things about The Pogues career was that though they are primarily known as a Irish folk band they often throughout their days strayed into other music. Whether that was Folk, Irish, Punk, Jazz, Reggae, Tex-Mex, Country, Ska and more they still managed to keep that unmistakable Gaelic tinge to everything and it gave traditional music the shot in the arm it needed (whether the folk snobs purists agreed or not they became irrelevant) and introduced Irish folk to a worldwide audience. Greenland Whalefishers have primarily been thought of as a band that sticks to The Pogues script pretty rigidly but here on Based On A True Story the true spirit of The Pogues is unleashed and the Whalefishers sound all the better for it!
The Whalefishers tenth album begins with ‘Over’ and for the initiated it kicks off just like Shane and the gang. Vocalist and band former Arvid’s laconic and laboured delivery is straight out the Pogues style book. Agnes on tin-whistle echo’s Spider’s important role and throughout the album her whistle can be heard laid gently on top of the more heavier instruments. ‘The Party’ begins with a speedy opening but soon settles down and comes with a traditional Poguesy anthemic chorus which leads us into the the first single released from Based On A True Story, ‘K Says’, and to say it went down well is an understatement. Across the internet Web-Sites that cover everything from Punk to Metal to Folk to Ska have gone mental for it! Arvid goes all Rude-Boy on us and we get as fine a slice of Celtic-Ska crossover since The Trojans (here) knocked us for six way back in 1987.
‘K Says’ is to the Greenland Whalefishers what ‘Fiesta’, ‘Metropolis’ or the whole of ‘Hell’s Ditch’ was to The Pogues. A chance to not move away from Irish folk but to take it with them into new and strange lands. They followi up with friend of the band Åse Britt Reme Jacobsen taking over on vocals for ‘Darkness’ before Arvid joins in to duet on a country tinged number. Time for a kick-arse track and ‘Friend-Enemy’ comes at just the right time. Sounding, despite his strong Norwegian accent, scarily like Mr. MacGowan at times Arvid carries the song and indeed a lot of the songs here with his voice, just as that band I keep mentioning did with Shane. ‘Joe’s Town’ is upbeat fast as feck Irish folk music. Nearly acoustic except for Jon-Erik’s electric guitar which at times is so subtle the album sounds like an acoustic one. ‘Halloween’ sees Arvid singing faster than any person ever should be able to along to a song that keeps the pace up as Odin’s fiddle and Ronny and his array of instruments, mandolin, banjo and bouzouki, keep the Irish turned up to 11! ‘Bad Match’ tells of a relationship gone bad and could easy fit upon If I Should Fall From Grace With God with its intelligent lyrics and punk rock styled folk music. One of the highlights here and my personal favourite after ‘K Says’. We are nearing the end and so far its the usual high standard from one of the Celtic-Punk scenes big hitters and ‘Together’ takes on a epic Punk ballad sound while ‘Ticket’ takes us back to the early days and a basic Irish folk rocker which takes us up to the last track. Great choice of song to bring down the curtain and ‘Riverside’ is another standout track which has that country tinged Irish Fol-Punk feel to it. Again Agnes and her tin-whistle keeps the song on track.
Band from left to right: Ørjan Eikeland Risan- Drums * Ronny Terum- Mandolin, Banjo, Bouzouki * Atle-Hjørn Øien- Bass * Agnes Skollevoll- Tin Whistle, Harmonica, Vocals * Arvid Grov- Lead Vocals, Mandolin * Jon Erik Kvåle Øien * Alexander Bjotveit- Guitar * Odin Døssland- Fiddle * Photo- Lars Kristian Steen *
Forty minutes long and containing eleven tracks Based On A True Story has been released as limited edition vinyl with a free CD version of album inside the sleeve. The vinyl album will contain a free bonus 7″ single with two songs only available through this single and no digital version or streaming version of these tracks will be made available. The Celtic-Punk scene has a lot of bands out there that sound like The Pogues. After all they are/were the major influence for all Celtic-Punk bands in the beginning but none sound as much like them as the Greenland Whalefishers do but don’t go away thinking they are a tribute band as they are a million miles away from that and it is when they sing their own songs that they really shine as a band. Formed well before the two pillars of Celtic-Punk Greenland Whalefishers look set to outlast both the Murphys and the Mollys and their never ending World tour continues!
Buy Based On A True Story
You can Pre-Order the album from MacSlonsShop and receive Vinyl and CD together from 8th March.
After almost a quarter of a century at the forefront of the Celtic-Punk scene Norway’s Irish Folk-Punk ambassadors Greenland Whalefishers show they still got plenty more in the barrel with a new single taken from the upcoming album Based On A True Story set for release next month.
Way back when the Mollys and the Dropkicks were just a twinkle in the eye a band from Bergen in Norway took to the stage to play their first ever gig. That day when Greenland Whalefishers played their very first concert on 8th March, 1994 saw the first major development in Celtic-Punk since Shane MacGowan and The Pogues first thought of combining British punk with Celtic/Irish folk influences. More than two decades later they are still going strong and have played just about every corner of the world. ‘K Says’ is the first single from the new upcoming studio album Based On A True Story which will be released on the anniversary of that night nearly twenty-five years ago. After the album release concert at home in Bergen, the band will play concerts in Germany, France and the Czech Republic.
Full a full biography of the fascinating history of Greenland Whalefishers check here.
Greenland Whalefishers are so amazing they had an award winning documentary made about them last year that is now available on You Tube so settle down with a cup of tea and a packet of biscuits and watch ‘Twenty Years Of Waiting- The Movie’ the inside story of how a small Celtic-Punk band from Norway went from playing small bars in Bergen to becoming festival favorites all over the world!
The debut release of pure, unadulterated Irish folk music from Norway’s Paddy’s Underground Party People.
To most people on the ‘outside’ it would probably sound a bit strange to have a Irish/Celtic folk band in Norway but to those of us who follow the Celtic-Punk scene it’s no surprise at all as Norway is already home to one of the best, one of the most popular and one of the longest running Celtic-Punk bands in existence with The Greenland Whalefishers. The Whalefishers may have formed ten years after the Pogues, in 1994, but with their style of Celtic traditional music combined with British punk they are considered to be one of the founders of the modern day Celtic-Punk scene. So with that in mind it’s no coincidence that Paddy’s Underground Party People tip their hat in the Whalefishers direction with this their debut release. Formed in 2011, and with the current band members together since 2015, they hail from the southeastern city of Hamar. An interesting connection to England is that the diocese of Hamar was founded in 1152 by Nicholas Breakspear, who later went on to become Adrian IV the first only English Pope but that’s where any connection to England ends, for this band play good time old fashioned Irish music!
Paddy’s Underground Party People left to right: Jens Haugan- Guitar * Tove Brovold Vassaasen- Bass * Sindre Vikhagen Halvorsen- Mandolin, Vocals * Gaute Smestad Pedersen- Vocals * Bård Uri Jensen- Tin-Whistle, Vocals
The EP begins with ‘The Ballad Of Susan Grey’ and from the off its acoustic guitar and flute give it an Irish air while the song has a Irish air too. Many olden Irish songs often had dark subject matter but the jolly music meant the lyrics were over looked. The song tells of Susan Grey a serial killer of her many husbands who meets a grisly end. It follows in that Irish tradition with a jaunty tune and singalong chorus and while Gaute does have a strong Norwegian accent its sung perfectly well in English and he even manages a bit of an Irish twang.
The first of the EP’s two covers is ‘Star Of The County Down’. Recorded many’s a time from within the scene and in the larger folk scene it’s a well known song and dates back to the end of the 17th century. Written by Cathal McGarvey (1866–1927) the song is set in the Irish town of Banbridge in County Down, and tells of a young man infatuated with a beautiful young cailín (Irish for girl) and who is determined to marry her.
“From Bantry Bay up to Derry’s Quay,
From Galway to Dublin Town,
No maid I’ve seen like the fair cailín
That I met in the County Down.”
Paddy’s Underground Party People play it as a straight Irish folk cover and it’s a well decent stab at it. To be honest you can’t go wrong with this song and I’m sure it fills the dance floors of Hamar and beyond. Gaute is joined on vocals by Bård and his five year stint studying in Glasgow stands him in good stead as I originally thought it was a Scottish singer! The other cover follows and is ‘I’ll Tell Me Ma’, another Irish pub standard known throughout the world these days. It’s another old song with no exact date of origin. Also known as ‘The Belle of Belfast City’ the song is believed to have originated as a children’s skipping song, or street song.
“I’ll tell me ma when I get home,
the boys won’t leave the girls alone;
They pulled me hair and they stole me comb,
but that’s all right till I go home.”
Again the Bhoys give it a hearty rendition though the music is a bit subdued in the mix it’s still ticks all the boxes and with that chorus leave all who hear it shouting and singing along with Bård expertly played flute. The final track of the EP is the excellent folky ‘Trekkspellterroristen’ and I had to check with the band what this meant as the song is sung in Norwegian. Thanks to Gaute for explaining that the word trekkspell is Norwegian for accordion and that the song is about when fighting breaks out at parties in rural parts of Norway it is broken up by ‘the accordion terrorist’ who gets people to forget the fighting and start singing and dancing. The Irish is toned down here but still comes through and I was right to sense it’s not a particularly serious song going by the tune!!
So a very nice start to the band’s career. It’s not unusual at all for a Celtic-Punk band to have a few covers on their debut release and as I’ve said before there’a very good reason why new bands outside of the Celtic diaspora tend to record from the same group of songs and that is because they are so God damn popular! I’ve been to enough nights in Irish pubs to know that it’s only when the band gets out the Dubliners songbook that the party really gets going! It’s four songs and twelve minutes of Irish folk as filtered through the folk traditions of Finland and further proof if it was ever needed that people around the world know a good tune when they hear it and I hope we hear much more from Paddy’s Underground Party People in the near future.
A huge compilation of songs written by the world’s #1 Celtic-Punk band as covered by today’s generation of modern celtic-punk bands from every single corner of the world!
We were sent this brilliant album by our good mate Vladimir, who also did the fantastic artwork and also seems to do the artwork for most Celtic-Punk releases in Russia, just before St Patrick’s Day. I had to warn him that we wouldn’t be able to do it justice in time to put a review up on release day as we would all be in the pub busy celebrating our Irish ancestry so here a few days late is our opinion on this years must hear compilation album.
As far as I know this is the first international tribute to the Godfathers of Celtic-Punk – THE POGUES! Everything we hold dear in Celtic-Punk comes out of the influence of The Pogues and their seminal and legendary front man Shane MacGowan. What they mean to Celtic-Punk is unmeasurable and the only question you must ask of this album is whether or not this is a worthy tribute to them or not and the answer is of course is that it most definitely, certainly is!!! The whole thing clocks in at nearly ninety minutes and has 27 bands from right across the entire globe with just about every corner covered. The list of countries here goes from the obvious ones like the USA, Norway, England, Italy, to some ones that may surprise you like Poland, Slovenia, Czech Republic, and Russia to some that will downright shock you like Indonesia, Ukraine or Belarus. They have all combined to bring you The Pogues most popular London Irish ballads from the era of safety pins, ripped jeans and disheveled hair!
Now this has been put together by our mucker and artist Vladimir from Novosibirsk in Russia and has a whole host of bands that are both new to us as well as some that are already firm favourites. It would be pointless here to go too far into the history of the songs as they are surely known to even the slightest fan of The Pogues. The whole thing kicks off with one of The Pogues least known songs ‘Curse Of Love’, which was a bonus track on the Hell’s Ditch re-issue album, by Indonesian band The Cloves And The Tobacco. They recently released a new album and it has been making huge waves across the international Celtic-Punk scene and it is a fantastic start and swiftly followed by ShamRocks from the Ukraine and Dzieciuki from Belarus before the London Irish very own The Craicheads weigh in with ‘Sally MacLennane’. They give it plenty of oompf and one of The Pogues fastest ever songs is delivered more than safely with a hint of country and bluegrass. Next up is easily one of the most inventive bands in the whole scene, and one of my own personal favourites, from California are Craic Haus playing ‘A Pair Of Brown Eyes’. You won’t have heard another band like them in the world of Celtic-Punk I can guarantee it. They have even invented their own genre called ‘Shamrockabilly’ and though their usual Rock’n’Roll may be a little lacking on this track it is still outstanding and worthy of you checking out the rest of their back catalogue. Another bunch of my favourite bands roll up next playing some of my fave Pogues songs. A good combination indeed. Happy Ol’ McWeasel from Slovenia doing ‘Sunny Side of the Street’ with the band I once described as being a cross between The Exploited and The Chieftains Middle Class Bastards from Russia next with ‘Big City’, Ukrainian band O’Hamsters sing ‘The Sick Bed of Cuchulain’ before possibly the album’s biggest band The Greenland Whalefishers from Norway chipping in with a brilliant version of ‘Birmingham Six’. A couple of bands I don’t know follow with Kelush and the Bastards (feat. Chris Dutchak) from the Ukraine with an absolutely fantastic skate punk ‘Fairytale of New York’ before Harley McQuinn from Russia nails it with ‘London Girl’. Keeping just enough of the originals Rock’n’Roll sound before adding some great guitars and gang vocals. Czech’s Benjaming’s Clan and Italians Dirty Artichokes are both bands that have impressed us here over the years and you could almost call them Celtic-Punk veterans compared to some of the groups here! Russian band The Real Blackbeards I don’t know but they present a great fun pirate version of ‘Sea Shanty’. Americans CRAIC are another big hitter here and they also do a Hell’s Ditch classic ‘Sayonara’ and is one of the many album highlights. Troty hail from Poland and are one of the few bands with a female vocalist. They give us a faultless Polish version of Bottle of Smoke while Hell’s Ditch is revisited again by another Indonesian band Forgotten Generation with ‘Rain Street’ and again it is absolutely superb. Amach I don’t know but they offer up ‘Transmetropolitan’ and bloody great in its simplicity it is too. They come from the Crimea and like the best bands here they don’t over complicate things but just add a twist to add their own stamp to the songs. Yet another Indonesian band pops up next and The Working Class Symphony give it plenty in their cover of ‘Fiesta’. Never one of my favourite songs but this version bloody rocks and I have fallen for it big time. Like all the Indonesian bands here they play traditional Irish folk influenced punk and is so well played you would think they were all Irish if heard them on the radio! БНД I can’t even pronounce their name but ‘Boys From County Hell’ keeps up the high standard while The Humble Hooligans are a band I only got into recently and these Californians give Turkish Song of the Damned a right auld kicking complete with proper authentic moans and wails. Great accordion leads and Troy’s perfect vocals mark them out as a band to watch out for. Red Box from Russia again I don’t know but offer up a decent ‘If I Should Fall from Grace with God’ before Rum Rebellion from Portland, USA serve up an epic ‘Boat Train’. Been fans of these for a long time and they do not disappoint. Всё_CRAZY are from Belarus and their ‘My Baby’s Gone’ is another album highlight. Taken from the first post-Shane Pogues album Waiting For Herb it’s a brave choice and fits in and works perfectly. We are nearing the end of the album and the last band I know here is the marvellous Moscow Celtic Punk group Drunken Fairy Tales. Keep an eye out soon for the review of their new EP it’s both fantastic and free to download! Crow Dog Clan have another brave choice with ‘Oretown’ from the final (non-Shane) Pogues album Pogue Mahone. They take the song and give it a real shake to come up with something outstanding. Almost gothic country its actually great to hear something not so celtic. Finally the album comes to a sad end with Kozlobar from Russia bringing down the curtain on this amazing tribute with the mental instrumental ‘Battle of Brisbane’.
Well what to say now in summing up. With 27 bands you’d think their would at least be a few duffers here but you’d be mistaken. I’m sure if their were any they ended up on the cutting floor as from beginning to end the whole thing is simply fantastic. From the selection of bands to the bands own selection of songs this is as good as it could have possibly have mine. Yes this is kinda dominated by eastern European groups but it has been put together by a Russian guy and I for one am glad its not dominated by American bands. If Celtic-Punk exists and is to prosper beyond The Pogues/Dropkicks/Molly’s then it must also exist outside the countries of the Irish/Celtic diaspora like the States, Canada, Australia or England. Compilations serve a purpose in introducing you to new bands and if there was a problem in celtic-punk it is that far too many people think the scene these days revolves solely around the Dropkicks or The Molly’s. I am sure this album will introduce everyone hearing it to today’s generation of bands that are carrying the torch for Shane and his buddies and not only that but will inspire another generation of fans as well.
1. The Cloves and The Tobacco feat. Cathy Shannon – Curse of Love
2. ShamRocks – Wild Unicorns of Kilkenny (Wild Cats of Kilkenny)
3. Dzieciuki – Не Саскочу! (Streams Of Whiskey)
4. Craicheads – Sally MacLennane
5. Craic Haus – A Pair of Brown Eyes
6. Happy Ol’ McWeasel – Sunny Side of the Street
7. Middle Class Bastards – Big City
8. O’Hamsters – Лiжко Кухулiна (The Sick Bed of Cuchulain)
9. Greenland Whalefishers – Birmingham Six
10. Kelush and the Bastards feat. Chris Dutchak – Fairytale of New York
11. Harley McQuinn – London Girl
12. Benjaming’s Clan – The House of Gods
13. Dirty Artichokes – The Rake at the Gates of Hell
14. Real Blackbeards – Пират и Колдун (Sea Shanty)
15. CRAIC – Sayonora
16. Troty – Butelka Smoke (Bottle of Smoke)
17. Forgotten Generation – Rain Street
18. Amach – Transmetropolitan
19. The Working Class Symphony – Fiesta
20. БНД – Boys From County Hell
21. The Humble Hooligans – Turkish Song of the Damned
22. Red Box – If I Should Fall from Grace with God
23. Rum Rebellion – Boat Train
24. Всё_CRAZY – Ты Ушла (My Baby’s Gone)
25. Drunken Fairy Tales – Плот “Медузы” (The Wake of the Medusa)
26. Crow Dog Clan – Oretown
27. Kozlobar – The Battle of Brisbane
So there you have it. Don’t forget to tell all your friends about it now! Share it with all you know and let the world enjoy this superb free compilation! And a happy (belated) St. Patrick’s Day to you!!!
(you can listen to the entire record here for free by pressing play on the Bandcamp player below and follow the link below that to get the download)
One of the best things about doing this here blog-zine is the end of year ‘Best Of’s’. This is our chance to reward, for what it’s worth, and recommend those releases that tickled our collective fancies over the last twelve months. Where as in 2013 the Best Of’s were dominated by local bands and releases and in 2014 it was international bands that stole the show this years is more of a mix of the two. No shocks at the top I’m afraid. It was always going to be a slug out between the big hitters of celtic-punk with The Rumjacks just shading it from the The Mahones by the slightest of margins. One of the team commented that the only difference was that ‘The Hunger And The Fight Part 1’ was slightly better than Part 2. In third place came 1916 out of New York who only just sneaked in with the December release of ‘Last Call For Heroes’. The album came out so late we didn’t even get a chance to mention it let alone review it nevertheless it blew us all away with their brilliant combination of rockabilly and celtic-punk. Another one to file in the ‘shamrockabilly’ category. Overall no major surprises and all four admins lists pretty much tallied up with each other but it’s especially great to see some non-English speaking bands in there as well as some bands that were new to us in the last twelve months. I was particularly happy to see Skontra and The Cundeez make the grade representing celtic-punk as played in the celtic nations. As ever we have reviewed some, though not all of these albums, so click (here) after the title and you will be re-directed to our review. If your album is not here do not be downhearted. These twenty album’s are the tip of the iceberg of what was released last year in what was an outstanding year for celtic-punk. Feel free to comment, slag off or dissect our lists. We don’t pretend to be the final word as that my friends is for you…
Now onto the EP’s. These are classed as shorter usually four to six songs long and around anything right up to 15-20 minutes long. No shock here at number one as a unanimous vote saw this years new band of the year Mick O’Toole walk away with the title. They have been a solid fixture during the year building up quite a reputation and following. At number two it’s long been a well known secret that Indonesia is a hotbed of celtic-punk and Dirty Glass are one of the best bands in their flourishing scene and ‘Drunken Summer Nights’ ran O’Toole very close while another English band came in third. Matilda’s Scoundrels really hit the heights in 2015 and just like Mick O’Toole bigger and better things await them in 2016. The rest of the list is made up from bands from across the globe with Slovenia, South Africa, Hungary, Catalonia, Russia, Holland, France and Yorkshire all making the list.
As the blog is for (mostly) celtic punk so it is that we only review stuff that isn’t celtic punk if we really really (really!!) like it. All these rocked our boat and we loved each of them all to bits. If you like celtic-punk then you should not be afraid to give traditional folk a listen. Most of it is more punk than punk these days you know. It’s a direct link to the music that inspired celtic punk music and their are some amazing bands and performers out there. Hard to decide which order they should go in especially as O’Hanlons Horsebox could have just as easily won this years Best Celtic Punk Album as well! This is how the Top Ten ended up.
1. O’HANLONS HORSEBOX- ‘Songs And Stories From The Border’ (here)
8. JOHNNY CAMPBELL- ‘Hook, Line And Sinker’ (here)
9. FFR CELTIC FIESTA- ‘Fresh Blood’
10. THE PROCLAIMERS- ‘Let’s Hear It For The Dogs’ (here)
11. SKWARDYA- ‘Domhwelyans/ Revolution’
TOP CELTIC PUNK WEB-SITE
Again Waldo over at Celtic Folk Punk And More walks away with this award. There is simply no better site on the internet. Everything you would possibly need to know is here with a HUGE range of bands covered and there is no doubt in my mind that the site you are reading here now would not exist without the inspiration of Celtic Folk Punk And More. Sadly Waldo published a post on January 3rd titled ‘New Year, New Life’ (here) announcing the suspension of the site for a while. We wish Waldo well and look forward to his, and his fantastic web site’s, return.
* The lists were compiled from the scraps of crumpled paper, and one beermat, handed to me by the other three admins from the London Celtic Punks Facebook page and tallied up over several pints of beer in a seedy working man’s Irish boozer in north London.
Sláinte, The London Celtic Punks Crew- 2015
all the major players in celtic-punk do Best Of lists so click below to check out what they thought
Celtic Punk or Irish Punk or Paddy Punk or Folk Rock or Rock or Punk or Folk Punk or Folk?
The latest studio album from one of the most popular and most successful celtic-punk bands in the world!
The eighth studio album from London Celtic Punks fave’s the Greenland Whalefishers and boy oh boy it does not disappoint! Regular readers will know how much we love this band and we have been privileged to have organised both their only visits to London over the years. One of the celtic-punk scene’s major hitters they have been on the go since 1994 and with over 20 years of touring and recording behind them they show no signs of letting up either. On the release of their ‘Looney Tunes’ EP last St Patrick’s Day (review here) we had this to say about them
“For those not in the know The Greenland Whalefishers hail from Borgen in Norway and have been wandering the globe for over twenty years now playing their fantastic brand of celtic-punk for the masses. Way, way before the Dropkicks and the Mollys were even thought of it was The Greenland Whalefishers who were flying the tricolour for celtic-punk in Europe…and beyond.”
They have toured literally the four corners of the earth and built up a massive fan base all without the help of any major label support and all done on their own terms. They have kept it independent and done it all themselves.
The album is ten songs that come in at a lengthy forty minutes long and has nine original songs (though two were included on that ‘Looney Tunes’ EP mentioned above) and one instrumental. One of the best things about the Whalefishers is that they don’t feel the need to rush through things. Their sound has been likened to The Pogues and I would agree and just like The Pogues they can race through a frantic, fast paced number or a slow ballad and it will not wear out its welcome. This comes from a band being at perfect ease with itself. They trust in what they do and so do we…
(left to right) Atle-Hjørn Øien, Odin Døssland, Agnes Skollevoll, Arvid Grov, Ørjan Eikeland Risan, Alexander Bjotveit, Ronny Terum.
This fine album is up there with the best of The Greenland Whalefishers I am happy to say and will I am sure set the scene alight if there is any justice in this world. ‘The Thirsty Cave’ begins with ‘Tinted’ and from the first sounds of the sea followed by acoustic guitar and tin whistle and then Arvids voice begins and we are in familiar territory here. I find myself saying this over and over again but I do find myself judging a lot of celtic-punk releases on not just the music itself. After all a lot of what is released does whether we like to admit or not sound pretty similar so I find myself looking for things that set the releases apart and one of those things is the lyrics or message the band is trying to get across and one of the things that the Whalefishers have always had is strong and powerful lyrics. Again not too dissimilar to that great band that influenced them the most. Vocalist Arvid is chiefly responsible but by no means exclusively so and they are a real collective effort.
“Carry my weight / and if you like some of my hate”
A great song to start with and as catchy as anything you’ve heard from them before. ‘None Of Us Are Faithful’ is up next and is much more traditional celtic-punk. As I already mentioned the lyrics I have to add that there’s not an awful lot of cheerfulness here. Unrequited love, despair, worthlessness, alcoholism, pity seem to be the order of the day but all wrapped in such gloriously uplifting music that half the time you don’t know how sad your singing is! The self-penned instrumental ‘Nothing To Say’ is the album’s shortest track and Agnes tin whistle dominates proceedings and a fine auld tune it is too. Pure paddy punk mixing that Pogues sound with some real punk urgency. We are big fans of Tom Waits here and ‘Angel’ gives Arvid the opportunity to give it his best chance to do a ‘celtic-Waits’ and a slower swirling song that still has plenty of bite in it. ‘Been Away’ has a feel of Hell’s Ditch Pogues to it and speeds along nicely with another sad song
“I ran into you on a rainy night and we fell in love, in the beginning there was light”
’20 Years Of Waiting’ was the title track of that St Patrick’s Day single and is here simply the highlight of an album where every track is outstanding! All the differing components of the Whalefishers coming together in a perfect storm of a song.
‘Ted McKenzie’ is another slower track that somehow doesn’t seem slow at all. So much going on musically that it has the impression of a fast song without being one. All the band swirl round together to make a glorious noise with more tales of woe and death and losing at the bookies. ‘Queen’ is another high point and a ton of London references in the song about meeting some lassie who breaks your heart! Accompanied by a great video of the band filmed on location at home in Bergen and in London on their date at The Water Rat’s back last Summer.
‘Looney Tunes’ is the other song from this years earlier EP and again its a beauty. Rhyming ‘River’ with ‘Liver’ will tell you all you need to know about the songs story. Such great production on this album that continues with final track ‘The Letter’ which sends us home with the fastest song on The Thirsty Cave and the Poguesy feel is never greater.
“Live every day like its now or never, I hope you don’t lose your mind”
So there you have it. Neither a great leap forward or a re-hash of what has gone before but somehow Greenland Whalefishers have pulled out of their hat yet another fresh sounding album chockablock of some fantastic Celtic Punk or Irish Punk or Paddy Punk or Folk Rock or Rock or Punk or Folk Punk or Folk songs. Whatever you want to call it their appeal is universal and they deserve their place as one of the celtic-punk scenes best bands. If you are still to be converted to the Greenland Whalefishers delay no longer and do yourself a favour and get this album. Its not every band that has been together 20+ years you can say the best place to start is with the new album but with the Whalefishers go on and dive in!
Celtic Punk or Irish Punk or Paddy Punk or Folk Rock or Rock or Punk or Folk Punk or Folk…yeah that sounds about right!
For those not in the know The Greenland Whalefishers hail from Borgen in Norway and have been wandering the globe for over twenty years now playing their fantastic brand of celtic-punk for the masses. Way, way before the Dropkicks and the Mollys were even thought of it was The Greenland Whalefishers who were flying the tricolour for celtic-punk in Europe…and beyond. If you haven’t heard of them yet (where you been?!?!) this is your chance to properly rectify that. ‘Looney Tunes’ three track EP came out over last St Patricks Day and as we were all in Dublin it kinda passed us over but soon as I got a chance I promised myself I would play the wee bugger to death and that is exactly what I have done.
(left to right) Atle-Hjørn Øien, Odin Døssland, Agnes Skollevoll, Arvid Grov, Ørjan Eikeland Risan, Alexander Bjotveit, Ronny Terum.
The Whalefishers are often thought of as a Pogues style band and there is no denying that yes at moments they sound exactly the same as The Pogues. I mean EXACTLY the same. It’s uncanny. I have fooled more than a couple of people into thinking they were listening to new Pogues material while they were in fact hearing The Whalefishers. Now The Pogues are the ultimate kings of celtic-punk so that is no insult it’s a massive compliment to have played to them. Over the last couple of releases though they have started to move ever so slightly away from that sound and more power to them as it still sounds incredible to this ear that a Norweigan band can have such an authentic Irish ring. It is quite simply amazing.
The EP kicks right off with the title song ‘Looney Tunes’ and every instrument is played to perfection. Arvid’s vocal style is less like Shane than it has been before but slots in as easily as ever with the music. All seven members play their part and with a great production this EP rock’n’rolls along with none of the instruments drowning each other out and simply accompanying each other. Second track ‘Afraid’ is a slow swirling number again with all the multitude of instruments coming together beautifully. Like The Pogues its not always the faster paced songs that grab your attention and most of my favourite Whalefishers songs are of the slower kind.
Ending with the epic ‘Twenty Years Of Waiting’ The Whalefishers ramp it right up and a classic bit of celtic-punk draws the curtain on this grand EP. A few classic album titles get namechecked in the lyrics and the EP’s standout track is also its final one.
“The reflection in the window tells me I’m still the same
Raising my glass, what you see is what you get
I’m just a bag of bones, trying to stay sane
Washing my hands clean, now I’m all set”
There is not an awful lot you can say about The Greenland Whalefishers. You will either like it or you will not. They have been around now for such a long that their sound is as perfect as it’s ever gonna get! Taking a combination of Brit punk and adding celtic folk influences and then finally smothering it in Irishness The Greenland Whalefishers are one of the bands that moulded celtic-punk after The Pogues gave up recording new material. They definitly deserve the plaudits that they regularly get from the celtic-punk media and they seem to be on the never ending verge of pushing on into the big time. This a great EP and showcases the band perfectly and with a new album due later in the year ‘Thirsty Cave’ this is going to be a good year for The Greenland Whalefishers. Earlier in the review I said “you will either like it or you will not” when what I should have written is you will either totally love it or you are a fecking eejit!
this band is so amazing they had an award winning documentary made about them that is now out on You Tube so settle down with a cup of tea and a packet of biscuits and watch ‘Twenty Years Of Waiting- The Movie’.
The Greenland Whalefishers started out in Bergen in Norway in 1994, long before the likes of The Dropkick Murphys or Flogging Molly had hit the dizzying heights they’ve reached now. Combining british punk with celtic folk influences, the band soon became one of the most interesting post-Pogues bands. More than two decades of touring all over the world, releasing seven full length albums, a DVD documentary movie, piles of singles and EP’s and an unaccountable number of split releases, contributions to movies like ‘The Boondock Saints’ , have place3d the celtic-folk-punkers The Greenland Whalefishers as one of the worlds most successful and popular celtic-rock bands.
The Greenland Whalefishers have toured in the USA, Japan, England, Germany, Italy, Scotland, Poland, Czech Republic, The Netherlands, Belguim etc., and will continue touring all over with more power and energy than ever on what may well be called their ‘Never Ending World Tour’!
It is all this hard work and all the experience touring that has made critics stand up and take notice of the bands albums and concerts.
“all was answered and more by this Rockumentary celebrating 20 years of one of the greatest paddy punk bands in the world ever”
“this is probably one of the best celtic-punk bands you will ever see perform live”
“’20 Years of Waiting’ is a pitch perfect celebration of one of the scene’s very best bands”
“behind the scenes with the band in the studio; as well as TV appearances; music videos and tributes to the band from fans, friends and other bands (i.e. Flogging Molly)”
“a stellar band in the celtic rock and folk-Punk scene…”
”kick ass live footage of the band in their youth til today…”
“in-depth interviews, humorous shorts by fellow musicians/promoters in the paddyrock scene…”
Greenland Whalefishers Documentary Movie- ’20 Years Of Waiting’
1 hour 38 minutes of pure unpolished Irish punk made by Norwegians!
Available for rent as Video On Demand- Instant Streaming and on DVD