Spanish Flogging Molly style Celtic punk rock orchestra!
The Fatty Farmers were formed in 2009 and having now listened to all three of their albums I can honestly say they are one of the most infectiously fun bands knocking around in the celtic-punk scene. From the very first sound of the very first song what you get here is a joyful romp that must be surely a joy to behold to catch live as if their live shows contain a tenth of the energy as this album then that is more than enough! The Fatty Farmers hail from Toledo in central España, 70 km south of Madrid. The city is famed for its socialist values as well as its religious tolerance with Christian, Jew and Muslim communities existing peacefully side by side for centuries. It is perhaps that tolerance for other views and cultures that led eight young Spanish friends to form The Fatty Farmers and become one of the celtic punk scenes hidden delights.
The first thing you notice as the album plays is that the band are firmly from the Flogging Molly camp of celtic-punk and with the Molly’s showing no sign of releasing anything now for a couple of years I tells you this is very welcome. Lately its been the Dropkicks style that has dominated my stereo but I like my trad music and you get plenty of that here. The second thing you notice is how similar Rodrigo’s vocal style is to Dave King. Sung in perfect English it is at times uncanny. Now I must add at this point that I do not want you to think that The Fatty Farmers are some clone or covers band of Flogging Molly in fact they do sound like The Mollys if they had continued in the same vein as ‘Within A Mile Of Home’ but there’s more to their fiddle than that. They have released two previous albums, ‘Down In The Streets’ and ‘Refarmatory’, and have toured extensively at home as well as in Italy and Portugal and hopefully this album will deservedly get them plenty more recognition.
The first of the album’s 16, yes sixteen!, tracks is ‘Carrot Man’ and straight away you know you are in for a great ride. The accordion leads the song along and the fiddle adds a bit of a country feel and just a few seconds in and you feel like leaping about the place.
‘Dirty Tricks’ is next and with female backing vocals, by friend of the band Bea, the country-punk has it sounding a somewhat like The Rumjacks and everyone knows how much I love them! With ‘Freddy’ we are in proper celtic-punk territory for the first time on the album and the boys ramp it right up with fiddle and accordion and mandolin all together with the entertaining tale of murder in a circus.
“What´s going on? All of this is so real. What´s going on? One kill list? Could it be sinister ventriloquist´s dummy?”
‘The Kings of Our Farm’ could be the bands anthem and the hilarious story of winning the lottery and turning their farm into a strip club.
“We´ll miss the races with our pigs now live at full speed,we hired some girls who cleaned our farm”
Eventually they tire of the life and wish to return to the simple pleasures of farming. The Molly sound is complete with added tin whistle and one of the albums stand out tracks. ‘Gafitaeh’ is the only instrumental and has a Greenland Whalefishers sound to it I suppose because of the tin whistle and The Poguesy feel too. The song rattles along at a grand old pace and shows they can really put a tune together. On ‘Grandma’s Drug Lab’ the band never sound so like Flogging Molly again I can promise you.
Without a doubt another of the album highlights and followed by ‘A Doubt in My Heart’, one of the slower album tracks, which has a cool acoustic sound before ‘A Letter to Beth’ explodes in yer ear holes and we’re settling in nicely but then we are thrown a curve ball and ‘Invictus’ shows the band get the bagpipes out and Javato’s piping is brilliant in the punkiest song of the album and the one that would be guaranteed to see me hit the dance floor. Superb both lyrically and musically proving their is much more going on here than the influence of The Mollys.
“Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit From pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed”
Based on a poem by the English Victorian poet William Ernest Henley. ‘Invictus’ was written in 1875 and published in 1888. Henley wrote the poem while recovering from life threatening surgery. Their is a lot more to The Fatty Farmers then their ‘fun’ persona would have you believe.
Don’t worry though ‘There’s a Treasure Everywhere’ sees the boys chuck out a pirate song before ‘Under Our Kilts’ the oddest song on the album comes on. The words are gibberish and a in-joke from the band while the music begins with the mandolin before again they take The Rumjacks sound a little further and a ska song wrapped round the accordion. The song develops making you think its going to turn punk rock any second but they stop just short and when the rest of the band join in the sound is actually really good. Just wish I could tell what they are on about!! ‘Drunk Fighters’ again shows how versatile The Fatty Farmers are and they turn their hand to this punk number and its a testament to them that even when they put songs in like ‘Drunk Fighters’ they don’t stick out uncomfortably and in fact seem perfectly at home.
“We’re the drunk fighters. These are our lives we chose and we know, ready to fight and ready for the show”
The Molly influence is back with both ‘Fanegas T.V. Show’ and ‘Queen of Drag Queens’ and to say they are catchy tunes would be a fecking massive understatement. We are getting to the end of the album. An hour’s worth of top notch celtic punk that will surely be challenging for the years best album if their is any justice. The bagpipes are back in ‘When Our River Was a Beach’ which begins slowly lulling you into thinking your in for an easy ride and then the whistle kicks in and we are off again. All great things come to an end and ‘Dancing Duels’ brings one of the best records I have heard this year to an end. A short song, only 71 seconds long, but stuffed to the gills in a live battle between the fiddle and the tin whistle.
The Fatty Farmers left to right: Javier (whistle, bagpipe) Juancar (drums) Javi (fiddle) Rodri (banjo, mandolin, lead vocals) Josemi (electric guitar) Lalo (acoustic guitar) Lamber (bass) Goyo (accordion)
With such a fantastic album under their belts I am sure that The Fatty Farmers will get the recognition they deserve. Fans of the band funded the making of the album so they do have a hardcore of support but they need to get around a whole lot more and introduce the rest of Europe to the glorious sound of The Fatty Farmers. They are of course indebted to Flogging Molly as their influence is clear on ‘Escape From The Dirty Pigs’ but to think they are just copying them couldn’t be further from the truth. The Fatty Farmers are definitely one of the best and original bands in the celtic-punk scene and deserve to be heard. A superb combination of traditional folk music and modern influences. Be sure to watch this band.
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for another opinion on the album check out ‘Celtic Folk Punk And More’ (here) but they seem to have liked it just as much as we did!