TOP TWENTY CELTIC PUNK ALBUMS OF 2014
TOP FIVE CELTIC PUNK EP’S OF 2015
TOP FIVE TRAD ALBUMS OF 2014
BEST CELTIC PUNK WEB-SITE OF 2014
collective promoting celtic music especially celtic-punk and unofficial Celtic supporters club for drunx, punx 'n' vagabonds!
TOP TWENTY CELTIC PUNK ALBUMS OF 2014
TOP FIVE CELTIC PUNK EP’S OF 2015
TOP FIVE TRAD ALBUMS OF 2014
BEST CELTIC PUNK WEB-SITE OF 2014
We here at London Celtic Punks love our celtic-punk and as much as we love our celtic-punk we really really love celtic celtic-punk!By that I mean there’s some fantastic bands from the States or Canada or Indonesia and Italy or Australia, in fact there’s some amazing bands from all over the world truly making celtic-punk an international thing. Saying that though there is something extra special about a band from one of the celtic nations taking up the gauntlet. In Ireland there’s Blood Or Whiskey, Wales has Kilnaboy and in Galicia there’s Bastards On Parade and The Falperry’s but no celtic nation has as many, and are as good, as those from Brittany.
We’ve touched previously on the blog on the history of Brittany as a celtic nation, in this review (here) of the Breton band The Maggie Whackers latest EP, so click there to stop us repeating ourselves! Suffice to say there’s a massive resurgence in both Breton feeling and the Breton language. Through centuries of oppression France has failed to absorb Brittany or kill off the Breton language and Les Ramoneurs De Menhirs are a perfect example of what’s happening in Brittany.
Formed in 2006 its members include Éric Gorce on the bombardon, Richard Bévillon on the bagpipes, the traditional vannetais singer Maurice Jouanno and Loran, guitarist from the the group Bérurier Noir. The most amazing thing though about Les Ramoneurs De Menhirs is that they sing in Breton, the ancient language of Brittany which is closely linked to both Cornish and Welsh. Their first album, ‘Dañs an Diaoul’ (The Dance of the devil) was released in 2007 by the former label of Bérurier Noir, Folklore De La Zone Mondiale. The singer Louise Ebrel, daughter of Eugénie Goadec, a famous traditional Breton musician, guests on several songs on the album. Les Ramoneurs De Menhirs participated at the massive celtic festival ‘Festival Interceltique de Lorient’ in 2007, having performed outside the official programme. Back in 2008 they toured Scotland with the only band comparable to them Scot’s punkers Oi Polloi. Second album ‘Amzer An Dispac’h’ followed in 2010 and featured more of the same with hardcore punk accompanied by celtic instruments and shouty gang choruses and vocals. Guests from across the musical spectrum were asked to perform and did freely showing the lack of snobbery within the Breton folk/language scene. They choose to embrace Les Ramoneurs De Menhirs (not that it’s always been plain sailing) while Oi Polloi are put down and, even worse, ignored by their Scots compatriots despite all the positive work they are doing to promote gaelic in Scotland.
here’s a list of YouTube videos here mostly from 2014 well worth trawling through on a quiet night accompanied by a few beers!
for easily the best english language web site concerning Brittany then check out THE BRETON CONNECTION “a portal to the Breton movement for self-determination and cultural rights”.
Today we celebrate the blog’s first anniversary so, in a case of obvious self-indulgence, we thought we’d share with you our TOP TWENTY CELTIC-PUNK ALBUM’s OF ALL TIME. The last year has flown by and, even better, feedback for the site seems to have been universally good. As long we’re appreciated it’s all well worth doing. The celtic-punk scene has gone from strength to strength over the last twelve months and hopefully we’ve helped toward that in a small way. Big thanx to all who sent in stuff for review and also to our wee gang of reviewers and contributors.
Now before we get going thought I’d chuck in a couple of things. We’ve only chosen one album per band as let’s face it otherwise it would be dominated by 3, maybe 4, bands at best. There’s no time limit on it although it does tend to be the older rather than the newer albums chosen and their picked not just on music on the albums themselves but sometimes on the circumstances around hearing them for the first time, which I’m sure your all dying to hear!
Attending the Anarchist Bookfair back in 2004 an old mate Booksie sez get yourself to the Active stall and get this album. So off I trot and I find it and its got a lovely celtic design on the front and a even lovelier Irish tricolour on the back. Not the sort of thing you’d expect to find at a Anarchist event! The song titles were all known to me and mostly Dubliners songs. Problem is its the last one so I have to buy it and lump it around for the rest of the day, and night!, trying not to lose it/break it/cover it in Skol Super. Any road I gets it home and play it and its f’king brilliant. Extremely well played Irish folk punk with great left politics and the only Anarchist celtic-punk song I’ve ever heard. I find out later that Saint Bushmills Choir are a kind of punk-crusty supergroup and that’s why the label Profane Existence released it. I did wonder why as everything I’d ever heard from the label before was an unlistenable racket! And it’s on very nice green vinyl!
First time I came across these was a video on YouTube of them at a West Virginia American Football game racing around with a Irish flag to ‘Country Roads’ so when their album popped up on the now defunct Paddy Punx web-site i downloaded it immediately. For such a young band they really were very very good but nothing has been heard from them in a long time and there’s not much to be found on them on the internet either. Aggressive celtic-punk but plenty of emphasis on traditional instruments too. ‘War Time In North London’ and ‘Under The Rowan Tree’ show their style at either end of the celtic-punk spectrum.
Emerging from the seedy punk rock clubs of Baltimore the Charm City Saints were one of a bunch of American celtic-punk bands inspired by the Dropkick Murphys. The LP begins with ‘Egans Polka’ which wouldn’t be out of place on one of your nanna’s records before blasting into the blistering ‘Night Paddy Murphy Died’. Catchy hooks and fist in the air choruses ensure the LP whizzes past as fast as anything. Blue-collar working class Irish American pride aplenty! Chuck in a couple of rebel songs and more trad punked up to 11 and you got yerself a classic of American celtic-punk. Far from the polish of the Murphys and the Mollys and all the better for it.
Till they released ‘Broken Pavements Of Avondale’ last year all anyone had of these was a couple of EP’s and this fantastic live album, which consists only of the songs on the EP’s. Once again I came across it on the Paddy Punx blog and despite the name sounding like a old fogies band i thought i’d take a chance, and boy was i was not disappointed. I’m not normally a fan of live recordings but this is one of those rare occasions where the sound and music is immaculate. The bands mix of celtic-Irish-Americana and Chicago folklore plus solid working class roots and politics really hit the spot with me. Great sense of humour, as evident on crowd favourite ‘You Don’t Want Me’.
We reviewed their new album earlier this year here.
Melbourne based celtic-folk-punk band who have now sadly broken up. They’ve left us a discography of great records of which this, for me, is the pick of the crop. Great story-telling from lead singer Jay with dark and light themes battling it out with understated humour! A few trad songs ‘Ride On’ and ‘Come Out Ye Black And Tans’ are in turn beautiful and uplifting but its when Between the Wars play their own songs they come into their own. ‘Ciaran’ about the love of a father for his son and the son for his father is heart achingly good while ‘Superherosong’ and ‘You Were The One’ raise the roof with that distinct Aussie celtic-punk sound but with a tinge of country.
Plenty more on the blog including a review of their last LP here and a interview with Jay, the lead singer, here.
Now this was a first for me and for anyone else whose ever come across Craic Haus too I bet. What you get is a album of ‘shamrockabilly’ that’s right 12 songs of celtic-rock’n’roll. They ought to be Imelda May’s backing band truth be told. Mostly self-penned titles like ‘Bottom Of A Guinness’ and ‘Shilleagh Bop’ show the bands great sense of humour plus theirs two incredible covers of The Wild Rover and Danny Boy with the original words but to the tune of something equally as famous. Hard to explain. Great production too and quite incredible work considering that their only a trio!
The day this came out I legged it back with the LP under me arm to me Nanna’s house in town. She had an old record player encased in a big massive cabinet about 5 foot long. The sound that came out was crystal clear but it was only ever use to playing country’n’western so how was it gonna handle ‘The Men’? Putting it on and the first song ‘Gold Strike’ came out and the guitar and mandolin giving it the impression of a folky LP she relaxed and then nearly fainted as it kicked into ‘Gold Rush’ a punky folky celt rocker. Things got worse for her as anti-fascist anthem ‘Ghosts Of Cable Street’ advocated hitting fascists and then miners strike song ‘Shirt Of Blue’ advocated attacking the police…she also found some of the language appalling!! Looking back it was nowhere near as punk as I thought it was at the time but The Men are still rocking out and recently celebrated their 30th anniversary with a grand sell-out big London gig. Definitely one of the early pioneers of the celtic-punk scene.
My dad was a coal-miner and so was his dad and his granddad too so coal-mining is in my blood you could say. Another album I came across via the Paddy Punx blog and it had a massive impact on me. Coming from the coalfields of Alabama these Irish-American lads sing a variety of mostly old standards and a few of their own songs. With very strong vocals and a banjo leading the way its a incredibly ‘full’ LP despite being acoustic and having no drums just the bodhran keeping the beat. Its also notable for having a song, O Caide Sin, in gaelic too.
Saw these the night after the only time I ever saw Blood Or Whiskey. Can’t remember how I came across it as the London celtic-punk scene was non-existent back then, but I did, and it was a weekend that went onto change my life forever! At the BorW gig I made a great friend without whom I doubt the whole London Celtic Punks thing would even exist and the following day at Flatfoot 56 i had my first date with the lady that was to become my future wife! The gig itself was outstanding. Fuck all people in a tiny wee cellar venue but great sound and those that were there were a enthusiastic lot. First on and all over before 9pm, we legged it when they finished playing and the rest is history. A short while after I got the album off another pal with ‘Knuckles Up’ on the same CD. I played it so damn much i cannot bear to put it on anymore but if it comes up on my I-Pod shuffle then i’m instantly reminded of why i love it!
There’s a review of the album of the Flatfoot 56 off-shoot 6’10 here.
The Bible Code’s are to London what The Tossers are to Chicago or The Murphy’s are to Boston. Probably more celtic-rock than punk they gig relentlessly across London and have a massive and loyal fan base. Reading about them in The Irish Post every week I first saw them play at one of their fortnightly resident shows in London’s west end. Starting off with their own stuff and then returning after a break to play ‘Irish-ed’ up pop hits they certainly had the crowd in the palm of their hands. I got the album that night and bugger me but on listening to it it seemed like it was auto-biographical!! The perfect album for the second- generation Irishman. ‘Maybe Its Because I’m A Irish Londoner’ is by far the fans stand out track but i prefer ‘Paddy Devil’ telling the story of the evil influence that makes us go on the lash instead of staying in and behaving ourselves…
With Shane kicked out of The Pogues and supposedly spiraling off into oblivion he shocked us all by teaming up with County Holloway celtic-rockers The Popes. Their first album together was ‘The Snake’ and was only so-so i thought but this album was something else. Freed from the confines of The Pogues Shane could let his pen do the talking. He calls it the Pogues fifth album. He doesn’t count anything The Pogues did after ‘If I Should Fall From Grace With God’. While hinting at nationalism with The Pogues for years this LP is defiantly pro-republican with stories of “burning London to the ground” and shooting coppers and soldiers. Received with glee by his fans and horror by the middle-class press both here and in Ireland. Dominated by jigs and reels The Popes prove themselves able to fill The Pogues shoes and even fit in a reggae song reminiscent of The Clash.
“The years they go by quickly/ I know I can’t remain here/ Where each day brings me closer/ To that final misery/ My kids will never scrape shit ’round here/ And I won’t die crying in a pint of beer/ I’m going back to Ireland/ And me Mother Mo Chroi.”
Straddling the celtic-punk fence nicely between the Molly’s folk and the Murphy’s punk is Ireland’s Blood Or Whiskey. This is their third album and they’re best one yet. Fourteen tracks of pure Irish folk ska punk. This was the first recording’s with new singer Dugs taking over from Barney and guest vocals from Cait O’Riordan of The Pogues add that special touch. Blood Or Whiskey have a instantly recognizable sound but don’t be thinking they’re stuck in a rut as they stand out in the celtic punk scene as a constantly evolving band. They are also the only band actually from a celtic nation on our list. ‘They Say No’ ends the album and is the standout track with all the BorW elements coming together perfectly!
This years new album from Blood Or Whiskey was reviewed on the blog earlier in the year, read it here.
Catchy and upbeat this is the must have album of Irish-Canadian band The Mahones. They’ve been around for twenty years and are one of the innovators and movers and shakers of the celtic-punk world. Their is plenty here for all fans of celtic or punk music and the songs flow seamlessly from raucous punk to reflective ballad with ease. Dublin born singer Finny leads The Mahones and they are easily the hardest working band in the scene. ‘Queen And Tequila’ and ‘Drunken Lazy Bastard’ are still solid staples of the bands live set. Fourteen tracks and well over a hour long and not a single bad track. Scruffy from the Dropkicks pops up to show exactly how widely regarded The Mahones are.
Seems like an age ago now (and it bloody is too) that a old skinhead mate from Belfast put me onto these and I got to see them on their first London gig before I’d actually heard anything by them. To say they blew me away is a understatement and my love affair with them only got worse on hearing this album. Yeah the Pogues and The Men They Couldn’t Hang were there first but the Dropkicks were a proper punk band. Our families all liked what passed for celtic-punk before this lot but the Dropkick Murphys? NO FACKING WAY! My mams heard them and thinks there awful racket! I use to call this album ‘celtic-Oi!’ and if you’re a recent convert to the DKM’s there’s not a lot of what passes for the band now. For a start Mike McColgan, from the Street Dogs, was the bands original singer and there’s very little celtic tunes and no instruments but plenty of references in the lyrics for those of us looking for them. By the time Finnegans Wake came on that was it for me!
Their second album and easily their best yet. After ‘Swagger’ the band realised they didn’t need a new approach. Slow songs, fast songs and combinations of both was good enough to last them right up until their last album ‘Speed Of Darkness’ when they changed it around a bit. Formed in a LA pub by Dublin native Dave King their sound is as authentic as it comes. Full on Irish folk played with the spirit of punk that captured the imagination of untold numbers of punk rock kids across the globe. Despite their success it’s as a live band Flogging Molly are at their best and they’ve released a handful of excellent live releases. The title track and the heart aching ‘The Sun Never Shines (On Closed Doors)’ show them at their fast and slow best. Listen side by side with the Murphy’s and you’ll see these are the celtic side of celtic-punk while the Murphy’s are more punk but both compliment each other enormously.
A mate worked in Reckless Records in the West End and one day down the pub he announced to me “you like all that Irish folk shit, here have these” and presented me with a 1960’s LP of rebel songs, a Wolfe Tones CD and this by The Tossers. Maybe not their best album (I actually prefer ‘Emerald City’) but this has The Tossers greatest song ‘Good Mornin Da’ and a host of other Chicago South Side Irish folk-punk classics. Older than the Murphy’s and the Molly’s they well deserve their place at the top table of celtic-punk. More like the Pogues than the before mentioned bands they have The Pogues knack of playing lengthy songs that don’t bore the arse off you or go off into decadent meandering and keep your interest till the end! Saw them play once in London and they were every bit as good as i thought they would be.
You can find a review of the excellent new album from The Tossers, ‘Emerald City, here.
Coming from the hills of Tennessee they mix Irish and Scots folk with their native Appalachian music. Dark themes abound on this all the way through and the vocals and music really capture the emotions of the lyrics. Completely acoustic with superb banjo playing to the fore they would in fact go down well absolutely anywhere and with anyone I’d say. ‘Rich Insteada Pretty’ is a brief interlude of humour before ‘Dark Hallow’ takes us back to some more misery. A superb album with all the best bits of celtic-punk but with enough of Cutthroat Shamrock’s own definitive stamp to single them out as real innovators of the scene. ‘Fly Away’ would easily make my Top Ten Songs of all time.
You simply cannot underestimate the influence The Pogues had on this nation when they came racing out of the blocks in the mid-80’s. To put it simply the amount of Irish born people in Britain was massive but few of their offspring felt in anyway Irish. Hardly surprising when the rest of the nation was stacked up against them and to be Irish meant to be either a bomber or be thick or an alkie or feckless or violent or many other number of racist epitaphs. Who then could find pride in those roots when it was something we ought to be ashamed of? Well The Pogues could. Their first two albums were met with amazement and relief that we could actually be proud of our backgrounds and shout it out as well. By the time of this their third album The Pogues had started to agitate and their song ‘The Birmingham 6’, while only reinforcing what our families had already told us, brought the issue of the many innocent Irish jailed in Britain to a wider audience. That to be in possession of an Irish accent could land you in jail for a very long time. This is the record that saw them move away from being a band only Irish people could like and includes their mega-mega hit ‘Fairytale Of New York’. Though I cant stand ‘Fiesta’ the rest are pure brilliance and Shane’s lyrics are sublime. I especially loved the Tipperary themed ‘The Broad Majestic Shannon’. But even despite all of Shane’s brilliance its the late Phil Chevron song ‘Thousands Are Sailing’ that stands out and gets you on every single level. Possibly the best song about Irish emigration of all time…and that’s a pretty congested subject. More from us on The Pogues here.
Neck have been a solid fixture on the London punk scene for donkeys years now and this LP is their masterpiece. All 12 tracks are fully imbibed with the spirit of the two London bands that have inspired them the most- The Pogues and The Clash. I’ve been a major fan of Neck since the very beginning and no matter how often I’ve seen them play they never fail to give it their all and put on a great show. Lead singer and lyricist Leeson is up there with yer Shane’s and yer Christy’s and your Luke’s in the songwriting stakes and portrays perfectly what it feels to be a, so called, ‘plastic paddy’ or as Neck put it, much better, ‘PLASTIC AND PROUD’. The album has two expertly played trad songs and the rest are pure self-penned celtic-punk Neck classics. As impossible as it is to pick out a standout track, ‘Blood On The Streets’ about the racist murders of two young men in Ireland and London deserves a nod. The CD comes with a huge booklet with the lyrics and background story to each song which alone makes this a must have. More from us on Neck here.
Bejaysus I really wish I had heard this when I was a young gun, i would have definitely picked up a mandolin instead of untold tinnies and done something with me life! From start to finish this debut album from Sydney, Australia’s The Rumjacks kicks you squarely in the teeth. Whether its the full on celtic-punk rock of ‘Green Ginger Wine’ or the sadness of, nearly a ballad, ‘Bar The Door Casey’ The Rumjacks blue-collar stories of working class immigrant life really hits home. It isn’t without humour mind, check out their enormous (5,500,000 hits and counting!) internet hit ‘An Irish Pub’ which puts the boot firmly into fake plastic Irish pubs. The band is a mix of Scottish immigrants and others from descended from the various celtic nations which gives them a very definite authentic feel. This knocked the flaming socks off me when I first heard it and its still doing it now. Australian celtic-punk bands rule the planet and The Rumjacks rule Australian celtic-punk…that should tell you all you need to know. Plenty more on The Rumjacks here and the wonderful world of Aussie celtic-punk here.
well there you have it. hope you liked and if you like feel free to leave a comment below if you agree or disagree…maybe even leave your best ofs!
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Its always great to hear about a new band on the London scene but when that band is super-bloody-fantastic its even better! Creed’s Cross are a relatively new band formed by internationaly celebrated musician Bart Foley. He’s accompanied by some stella fellow performers in Pat McManus of The Mamas Boys and Brian Kelly of The Popes.
Based in the celtic-punk heartlands of North London and hailing from Cork, Dublin, Kerry, Mayo and London these lads are certainly kicking up a storm with their superb debut album ‘Gods And Fighting Men’. Self released on the bands own independent label Fiachra Records the CD itself is a nice wee package that comes with all the lyrics included so for those two reasons alone its well worth purchasing the disc. The name of the band comes from the crossroads from where Bart is from in Ireland and also to symbolise
“that our music welcomes all creeds and colours”
Eleven tracks and just under forty minutes is what you get and its as good a fusion of good old fashioned Irish traditional music and rock/punk/rock’n’roll as you’ll get. Now I’m sure the band won’t mind me saying this but they’re all pretty seasoned muso’s so don’t be coming here if you want your celtic-punk wrapped up with modern influences like a bit of ska here or a bit of dance there as Creeds Cross plough a far more classic route with influences of Irish legends The Horslips to the fore and much more celtic-rock than punk. That does not distract I hope that the band could not cross over into the celtic-punk scene as I am sure they could, and can, hold their own against any of the scene’s finest.
“We sang our songs and we played our fiddles,To London town and the gathering clans,Both North and South and all in the middle,will join together for the Irish band”
“Fridays are for Gods and fighting men”
stories of drinking, whoring, family tragedies and lost love
“Some Guinness was spilt on the barroom floorWhen the pub was shut for the nightOut of his hole crept a wee brown mouseAnd stood in the pale moonlightHe lapped up the frothy brew from the floorThen back on his haunches he satAnd all the night you could hear him roar“Bring on the goddamn cat!”
“drinking all your sorrows away”
When the grisly business was done, William Butler Yeats wrote, Ireland had
“changed, changed utterly: a terrible beauty is born.”
The victims themselves sensed that theirs was a blood sacrifice that foresaw rebirth and renewal, that their deaths might some day be seen as the secular incarnation of a sacred season. But the Easter Rising also proved to be a dress rehearsal as an empire fell and ordinary people entered and seized history.
featuring the best in Irish rebel folk and celtic-punk from Ireland and ‘across the broad Atlantic’
1.) The Foggy Dew- ATHENRYE (Dublin)
2.) Erin Go Bragh- THE WOLFE TONES (Dublin)
3.) Bright Star- Bobby Sands- as read by STEPHEN RAE
4.) Comrades In The Dark- THE PRODIGALS (New York)
5.) Freedom’s Sons- SHARKY DOYLES (Chicago)
6.) Connolly Was There- POL Mac ADAIM (Belfast)
7. Easter Time/Freedom’s Sons- BARLEYCORN (Belfast)
8.)Meet Me At The Pillar- DUBLIN CITY RAMBLERS
9.) Culture- THE REBEL HEARTS (Tipperary)
10.) The Dying Rebel- KATHLEEN LARGEY (Belfast)
11.) Citizen’s Army- RAY COLLINS (New York)
12.)Who Dares To Speak Of Easter Week?- BRENDAN BEHAN (Dublin)
13.) Met A Proud Man- GERRY T.MORAN (Norfolk/Dundalk)
14. Who Dares To Say- THE BATTERING RAM (Dublin)
15.) The Starry Plough- THE DRUIDS (Kildare)
16.When Will We See- THE DRUIDS (Kildare)
17.) The Rifles Of The I.R.A- ATHENRYE (Dublin)
18.) Provos Lullabye- THE WOLFHOUND (Belfast)
19.) Woods Of Drumboe- THE WOLFHOUND (Belfast)
20.) Guest Of The Queen- BRIAN UA BAOILL
21.) Bobby Sands- CLAYMORE (Glasgow)
22.) McVerry’s Men- BANJO BURKE (Kilkenny)
23.) Eamon Wright- ADELANTE (Coatbridge)
24.) 1916 Proclamation- CU CHULAINN
25.) Banna Strand- FLYING COLUMN (Belfast)
26.) The Rebel by Padraic Pearse- THE DUBLINERS
27.) Padraic Pearse- THE WOLFE TONES (Dublin)
28.) Follow Me Up To Carlow- BLOOD OR WHISKEY (Kildare)
29.) The Peeler And The Goat- NIAMH NI CHARRA (Killarney)
30.) Oro Se Do Bheath Abhaile- THE DUBLINERS
31.) Sean Larkin- THE IRISH BRIGADE (Tyrone)
32.) The Rhythm Of Time- BOBBY SANDS
33.) H Block Song- THE PLAYERS BRIGADE (Dublin)
34.) Ninety Miles from Dublin- POL Mac ADAIM
35.) Mise Eire- POL Mac ADAIM
36.) The Wind That Shakes The Barley- THE BATTERING RAM
37.) Boys Of The Old Brigade- EIRE OG (Glasgow)
38.) The Boys From Tamlaghtduff- CHRISTY MOORE (Kildare)
39.) The Rising- BRICK TOP BLAGGERS (California)
40.) Henry Joy (Faithful To The Last)- CIARAN MURPHY (Armagh)
41.) Who Fears To Speak Of Easter Week- DOMINIC BEHAN (Dublin)
“Had the Gaelic race never produced a scrap of literature, had our treasures of history and romance never had a being, had our Cormac’s, Keating’s and our O’Clery’s and Donnachadh Rua’s never written a line, these folk songs of ours would have been sufficient to prove for all time the glorious capabilities of our race.”
– Padraig Pearse
The 1916 Societies are committed to fostering and promoting Irish unity as set out in the 1916 Proclamation and their website is here.
Contact Rory at Radio Rebel Gael at Facebook here
Six years since their last EP and nine since their last LP news of the upcoming release of this, Blood Or Whiskeys 4th studio album, kind of took us all by surprise here. After such a long time of inactivity the news was literally music to our ears!
Formed way back in 1993 in Leixlip, County Kildare, Ireland they were one of the original celtic-punk bands and have inspired most of what passes for celtic/folk punk in the scene in the last 20 years. Sneered at by the purists at home in Ireland for trying to make traditional music more relevant they escaped to the continent and the States and years of heavy touring. Eventually that took its toil and the line up changes over the years have become legendary! Legal battles with their record labels, the untimely death of band member Alan Confrey and those line up changes all contributed to the bands lengthy hiatus. All a great shame as they seemed at the time to be well on the way to if not international stardom at least international punk rock stardom. Several appearances at Rebellion Festivals around Europe had seen their popularity blossom but then it all came to a grinding halt. So it was good news to hear the imminent release of this but is the weight of expectation too great?
Well for your coin you get 11 songs clocking in at 33 minutes and from the very start its that original Blood Or Whiskey sound we love so much. Have to add though they aint just gone back and re-recorded one of their old albums because they now sound like a hybrid of Pogues/Clash/Specials. From the first track ‘Dirty Aul War’ the ska beats collide with the punk which collide with trad sounds but all in that unmistakable BorW way. The addition of brass instruments later on in the track ‘Gone Or Forgotten’ is genius.
Touches of dub in ‘Seanie O’Keefe’ show the bands progression musically despite having both feet firmly in the celtic-punk scene as Chris states in their recent interview in Shite’n’Onions
“Yes we are without doubt a part of the Celtic Punk scene simply by the instruments that we have in the group and that is a good thing, it always makes me smile when I see how far Irish music and our culture has travelled, we have played everywhere from the US to Japan and all over Europe and every where we go there is a love for this small nation it makes you proud to be Irish and proud of all the great music and musicians from Ireland that came before us and managed to influence people all over the world. Going from what I have just said the Celtic punk scene makes me personally proud to be Irish as it shows me how the rest of the world loves and enjoys Irish music and culture. I’m not sure why there has not been many other bands from Ireland playing Celtic Punk because you do get other bands mixing folk with rock etc just not so many doing the Celtic Punk thing. Maybe it’s because the Punk scene isn’t as big here in Ireland as it is in the likes of the US and Europe, mainly due to the size of our population I suppose.”
The album never gets going in a punk rock way in the same vein as say ‘Cashed Out On Culture’ but there’s plenty here to have you leaping around your living rooms and their almost certain to come rocking up near to where you live wherever in the world that is!
The boys have self funded the release themselves so they’re gonna be doing plenty of touring to flog it but you can get it from all the usual places so check the links at the end. ‘Emigrant’ is the obligatory song about the scourge of emigration that has haunted the Irish race for centuries now. ‘Cannibal Economy’ and a instrumental ‘Black Pits’ bring the album to a close and its over way too early. A massive return to form and cant wait to see them live now. Glad to have you back Blood Or Whiskey go straight to the front of the queue.
you can read the interview with Chris and Dugs original members of the band from Shite’n’Onions here
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