So hopefully by now you will have equipped yourselves with at least three bands from the Hungarian Celtic Punk scene over the last few days so what better excuse than to give you a Top Ten of the best bands in that wonderful scene. They range from traditional Irish to folk-rock to full on punk but each band contributes to the scene without copying another and that is what makes the Celtic-Punk scene in Hungary so great. Some of the bands have overlap of members and it’s even possible by now that some have disbanded but these are the bands that have given Hungary such a great reputation among the worlds Celtic-Punks! Feast your ears on these lot!
If you are interested in finding out more about the great celtic-punk scene in Hungary (and you better be) the best place to visit is the ‘Celtic Punk/ Irish Folk Hungary’ group on Facebook here
STOP-PRESS in the following weeks after we published this article yet another Hungarian Celtic-Punk band appeared on the horizon so we thought we would add them in at the end here. So here’s one more. The more’s the merrier!
It has been a funny old year in the celtic-punk world I tells you. Last year the most outstanding records and bands seemed to come from faraway Indonesia. An amazing scene with equally amazing bands and releases. Young and vibrant and massive and pretty much everything the celtic-punk scene isn’t in good old London town (only kidding!!). Well this year it is the year of the Hungarian celtic-punk scene. I am beginning to lose count of the number of reviews I have done so far, just this year, of bands from Hungary. A quick check and so far we have already featured this Loch Nesz, The Jolly Jackers and The Scarlet (and it’s only September!) on top of them there’s a whole host of other bands who haven’t released anything this year like Paddy And The Rats, Firkin and Colleen and Punk Whiskey. The thing that sticks out and I have mentioned it many a time is that even in a small scene, like the one in Hungary, the bands manage to sound quite different to one another with each offering up something fresh and appealing, even to a jaded auld sod like meself!
The EP is four songs and comes in just slightly shy of fifteen minutes and The Crazy Rogues certainly know a good tune. ‘Chapter One’ begins with ‘Hello World’ and straight from the beginning the sound of banjo and fiddle and flute grabs you and you know this isn’t just a straight up punk band. They sing in English which doesn’t particularly bother me, as if anything I have always preferred bands to sing in their native language, but in a scene dominated by north American bands you would have to agree it’s sadly the easiest way to get known. The song changes in tempo all the way though and at first it seems unusual but you soon get used to them and before you know it you’re not even noticing them anymore.
“When you’re lost for words to tell
If you go to fight in hell
When you meet an Irish fellow
Doesn’t matter, just say hello”
‘Mighty Cowboys’ follows and is the highlight of the EP for me with great music and a superb tune that encompasses both folk and country and Irish traditional. Any second it could break into a ‘hoe-down’ that is kept at bay by the punk rock guitars and drumming. Great lyrics telling of the life of a cowboy.
“Taking all the gold of people
Spending it for beer and trouble
Such a cool life in the wild west
They said my life would be harmless”
It seems to be the way now that new bands must have a signature tune and The Crazy Rogues are no different with ‘The Crazy Rogues’ that kicks off with electric guitar and vocals that remind me of the legends that are The Greenland Whalefishers.
“Here we stand seven old friends folking down the road
That’s exactly how we like it we are the crazy rogues”
‘Rolling Barrels’ brings us the end and in the tradition of celtic-punk they give us a good auld pub song to quench our thirst.
“We can’t be heroes
Just employed slaves
Pieces of machine
That no-one saves
Eight hours of work
Eight hours of rest
Eight hours of fucking entertainment”
A EP that sounds like the band had a bloody good time recording it and you get the impression from ‘Chapter One’ that they are a band that is to be seen live to get the most from them. The Hungarian celtic-punk scene has a lot of very good, interesting and different bands and not only that but it seems to be a very friendly scene as well with the bands helping each other out rather than competing with each other. The majority of the bands make their recordings free to download (in fact check here and go download crazy) though you ought to leave a few pence for them. An all-dayer starring all these bands might even get me to blow the cobwebs off my passport and shift my lazy arse to Hungary. Thats how good they all are!
(you can listen to the whole of’ Chapter One’ below on the Bandcamp player…just press play and the download is free but also ‘Pay As Much As You Like’)
Right take a deep breath… Paddy And The Rats, The Scarlet, The Jolly Jackers, Firkin, Colleen, Punk Whiskey and now you can add to that list of superb Hungarian celtic-punks the name of Loch Nesz as well. Formed in the summer of 2010 the band have been quite prolific in their short time releasing a great album, ‘Dance The Jawbreaker Jig’, and a whole bunch of singles and songs to download. In the great spirit of Hungarian celtic-punk this EP is free to download so click the link at the bottom of the review to get some great celtic-punk music in yer ear holes.
from left to right: Gergely Sárosi – Guitar, Vocals Kristóf László – Lead Vocals István Murányi – Banjo, Great Highland Bagpipes Marcell Endrey – Accordion, Vocals Geri Sándor – Bass Ákos Szabolcs – Drums in the foreground: Gergely Kofrán – Violin, Vocals
Loch Nesz new EP ‘Leave The Captain Behind’ begins with ‘The Cape Of Good Hope’ and this wonderful song sets the pace for the EP. All three songs are self-penned and songwriting credits are shared amongst the band. You can read the EP’s lyrics at their web site here. Catchy as hell and played to perfection. Once again I am left marvelling at the quality of musicianship within the scene. Great celtic-punk music thats shows no allegiance to any of the celtic-punk greats and more importantly perhaps doesn’t sound like any of their fellow Hungarian bands either.
“When the lads get go down to the hold
and let the winds say where we sail
We sing of rattlebones and good ol’ Davy Jones
and by gallons drink the ale
But when midnight is around the floor starts to pound
and the skeletons come to dance
Fight the fuckers with all your might
Till only the last man stands!”
The video looks super fun and was filmed at several live Loch Nesz shows as well as the Caledona Pub, a Scottish/Celtic-themed pub in Budapest. The song itself tells the tale of a ship similar to the’Flying Dutchman’ and its crew, but is really about people who are having difficulty finding where they truly belong. As Greg from Loch Nesz say’s
“yes, we are close enough in age to our Linkin Park-filled youth to justifiably put some teenage melodrama in our lyrics”
Last year Loch Nesz released a longer version of ‘The Cape Of Good Hope’ but they hope this shorter and snappier version will catch them some airplay and why not. Starting off with accordion soon joined by fiddle and mandolin and then Kristóf’s singing starts up. His voice is perfectly suited to the music a sort of Tom Waits growl but still listenable and tuneful too. Following this is ‘When I’m Drunk’
“either sorrow or bliss, there’s nothing to miss
We’re all here for such a short time
Tomorrow we’re old, withered and bored
Until then, pretend we’re alive!
I ’m aware that I’m rare
so the world better spare me,
’cause I’m so cool
when I am drunk”
At first glance ‘When I’m Drunk’ appears to be a typical drinking song but is more of a parody of the stereotypical alpha male mentality so often found in the genre. Nothing wrong with drinking songs but far, far too many of them abound so absolutely brilliant to hear a band tackling the problem with a sense of humour. Unlike some who feel it’s better to lecture about things they know absolutely nothing about. The song speeds up and adds bagpipes to the already crowded mix and adds a (not too often heard in celtic-punk) guitar solo as well! The EP’s title track ‘Leave The Captain Behind’ brings the record to a close and so ends ten minutes of pure celtic-punk heaven.
“the ship is sinking, the captain’s drunk
lying shit-faced in his bunk
the ship is sinking, let’s save the booze
and let’s leave the captain behind”
Unlike the two other songs, it doesn’t even try to be more than it actually is – a few fictional sailors telling exaggerated stories of the sea in the catchiest way possible and bloody hell catchy is the word!
That this record is free is by the by as if it wasnt then I would be telling you all to pay for it anyway. All the above mentioned Hungarian bands are worthy of your time but begin with Loch Nesz, The Scarlet and The Jolly Jackers all bands who have released records in 2015 and given them to you for free. All amazing celtic-punk bands with amazing celtic-punk records and they all sound different with different styles too. Whatever is hapening over there in Hungary it certainly looks like 2015 is their year!