Tag Archives: Firkin

ALBUM REVIEW: JOLLY JACKERS- ‘Blood Sweat and Beer’ (2017)

Let’s drink whiskey!

The new album from the fantastic six piece Hungarian band Jolly Jackers playing Irish-Celtic folk punk rock.

Things are said to go in cycles and the evidence is clear. They do. If 2015 was the year of the Hungarian celtic-punk band then 2017 is going to be as well. This year we have already had Hungarian Celtic-Punk Week with reviews from Firkin, The Crazy Rogues and The O’Neills. Three great records all released within a few days of each other. Well I can safely tell you that Jolly Jackers have kept up this incredible high standard with the release of their second long player Blood, Sweat And Beer. Not only that but while I was writing this review the new album, Hardfolk Shanties, by yet another Hungarian celtic-punk band, The Scarlet, popped through the letter box so expect a review of that any day soon.

Jolly Jackers: Guitar/Vocal- István ‘Sztivi’ Faragó * Flute- Andrea Boncz Bass- Enikő Papp * Drums, Percussion- Viktor Szepesi * Lead Guitar- Márk Fenyves Violin (on Blood Sweat And Beer)- Krisztina Ujházy

Jolly Jackers are a six piece band with three lasses and three lads that hail from Dunaújváros a working class city in central Hungary famed for its steelworks, which is the largest in the country. They were only formed on New Years Day 2013 and have risen in popularity and critical acclaim every year and show no sign of letting up. Their debut release was the five track EP Call The Captain which came out just in time for St Patrick’s Day 2014 and is available for free download at the link below.

They followed this up with their debut album Sobriety in January 2015 which again was mostly penned by the band themselves. Sobriety made the Top Twenty of the London Celtic Punks album of the year (here) back in 2015 with its fast paced original brand of celtic-punk going down a storm here at LCP Towers. Again Jolly Jackers have made it available for free download so again follow the link below to get your free copy.

So where does that leave us now in April 2017. Well the Bhoys and Ghirls have been hard at work to deliver another utterly brilliant album to their adoring fans. Blood, Sweat And Beer (and what a fantastic album title!) begins with ‘Back at Home’ and the sort of celtic intro that pops up to start many celtic-punk albums but it’s done with real style here. A nice pirate song that leads nicely into the title song ‘Blood Sweat And Beer’ and it does not disappoint. Sztivi’s vocals are all sung in English and even though his accent is quite pronounced it’s still very easy to understand. A really great drinkin’n’fightin’ song with great fiddle and flute pushing it along.

‘Devil’ is up next and begins with rather nifty guitar making you think you heading off in a completely different musical direction before the band pull it back into celtic-punk territory.

“Just please don’t let the devil dance on my grave!”

As seems quite in vogue among the European celtic-punk scene they throw in a whole load of ska into ‘Drive’ and again something tells me Jolly Jackers will be heading into that Top Twenty again come the end of the year. Catchy as hell and completely original. No two songs here have sound anything alike!

The first single release from Blood, Sweat And Beer was the standout track from the entire album, ‘Hymn for the Gang’, which was accompanied by an outstanding video that perfectly captures I am sure the live experience and the energy of a Jolly Jackers live show.

“One, two, three, four, five…
SIX days passed with troubles of life oh…
One, two, three, four, five…
Six rats helping us to survive oh…
This life is better together
This gang is here forever
It’s time to clink full glass”
It’s a loving tribute to being in a band and the camaraderie you get through the trials and tribulations that happen on the road. Led throughout by tin whistle and fiddle combined with the thrashy guitars, bass and drums keeping the song on track to glory. Nearing the end of the album and its all flying past at a frantic pace with ‘John Not the Silver’ is no different. A back track of punk rock but with an unmistakable Irish tune flowing throughout it. ‘Let It Rain’ finally slows it down for the album’s longest song. As I have said countless times before even the most hardcore punk bands in the celtic-punk scene benefit from a slow song to wave your arms (and pints) in the air.

Except though Jolly Jackers take no notice of me though, fortunately, and speed it right up again! The album ends with ‘Epilogue’ and I finally at the end get that slow song I have been whining on about.
Well what can I say except its another blinder and I can report also that they haven’t slowed down any either! Twenty-six minutes was the length of Sobriety and twenty-six minutes is the length here as well. The album flows ceaselessly and leaves you only wanting more. At home in both seedy punk venues as well as massive arena’s Jolly Jackers are living proof that it’s songs that get you places as well as good old fashioned things like touring and record releases. You can play as often as you like but if you don’t master your songs then you’ll go nowhere in the long run. They are yet another in a long line, and growing rapidly, of excellent releases from Hungary. Absolutely superb and recommended to anyone who likes their celtic-punk both folky AND punky.

Get Blood, Sweat And Beer

Here or iTunes for only £3.99!!!

Contact Jolly Jackers

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and if you are on Facebook then I am afraid I have to insist you trot along right now to the ‘Celtic Punk/Irish Folk Hungary’ group page here where a warm welcome and Hungarian celtic-punk galore awaits you!

(a full concert from Jolly Jackers recorded at the Triskell Festival in Italy last summer, Not perfect sound quality but who expects that all the time?)

HUNGARIAN CELTIC PUNK WEEK! EP REVIEW: THE O’NEILLS- ‘Chapter One’ (2017)

ireland-hungarySo welcome to you to our third and final part of Hungarian Celtic Punk Week. After two fantastic celtic-punk bands in The Crazy Rogues and Firkin we calm it down a little with The O’Neills and their debut EP. We can be quite parochial in celtic-punk sometimes and tend to stick to bands we know or have heard of but there’s an absolute wealth of music out there begging to be heard and some of it may be from countries you wouldn’t expect. If the only thing this blog does is gain some of these bands a tiny bit of recognition then we are succeeding in what we set out to do. Leave your misconceptions at the door and take off your pub shoes and dip your toes into the celtic-punk scene worldwide and what better place to start off in than Hungary!

chapter-one-album-cover

The O’Neills formed in April, 2013 and hail from the Hungarian capital city of Budapest. Where as the first two bands we featured this week both play celtic-punk that sees the folk and punk in equal measures The O’Neills are much more of a Irish folk band in the traditional sense. Formed for a one off occasion The O’Neills success led them to be asked to perform on the Irish Stage of the Sziget Festival some months later. The huge impact gave the five-piece group the bit of push they needed to become th regular session band playing traditional acoustic Irish music at Jack Doyle’s Irish Pub. After two years, they tried different pubs and bars in the inner city of Budapest, changing their gigs to an unique show each time. By January 2017 it had led them to become one of the most sought after bands in Budapest and they recorded this debut EP at the Artist Factory studio. As its title they chose ‘Chapter One’ with the band planning to release subsequent chapters annually. Here we get as Chapter One three songs of excellently played music that perfectly evokes the spirit of Ireland.

oneills-1

The EP begins with the Irish rebel song ‘Down By The Glenside’ and is beautifully sung by Krisztina. One of the best known and also saddest of the Irish folk song repertoire it dates back to the time of the 1916 Easter Rising. Written by Peadar Kearney, an Irish Republican and composer who also wrote numerous other rebel songs, including ‘The Soldier’s Song’ (‘Amhrán na bhFiann), which would go on to become the Irish National Anthem. Kearney was a member of the Irish Republican Brotherhood, popularly known as the Feniansand the song stands as a call to arms for a generation of Irish people who were used to only political nationalism.

“Some died by the glenside, some died mid the stranger
And wise men have told us their cause was a failure
But they stood by old Ireland and never feared danger
Glory o glory o to the Bold Fenian Men”

The O’Neills version starts slow and maudlin. Just as it should be before speeding up with military style drumming and tin whistle. Never in a thousand years would you guess that this wasn’t an Irish band! The EP dips into more poppy territory with ‘Avicii’ next. The song is a mash-up of three of the house DJ Avicii’s three biggest hits done in a folk style. Again Krisztina’s voice is prominent, and why not when its this good, with the bands instruments wrapped around it. The song is mid-paced and is a catchy as hell foot tapper. Later on Dániel joins in on vocals and is the perfect foil for Krisztina.

“One day my father—he told me,
“Son, don’t let it slip away”
He took me in his arms, I heard him say,
“When you get older
Your wild life will live for younger days
Think of me if ever you’re afraid.”
He said, “One day you’ll leave this world behind
So live a life you will remember”

The EP ends with ‘Country Medley’ and is exactly what it says on the bottle. A compilation of Irished up excerpts of country (ish) classics. Daniel leads the bands on vocals with what must be a sure fire live favourite proving that these Bhoys and Ghirls can certainly play their instruments.

oneills-band

The O’Neills from left to right: Tamás Kaposvári- Cello * Dániel Fekete-Szűcs- Acoustic Guitar, Vocals * Krisztina Hajdu- Vocals * Sophia Lajgút- Fiddle * Júlia Seres- Flutes

All over and done and dusted in just over ten minutes its a great first chapter and though it may not appeal to all celtic punk fans I’m sure there’s plenty out there willing to give a band from the more folkier side of things a chance.

( you can hear the whole of Chapter One below on You Tube)

Buy The EP

Contact The Band

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So all in all a very impressive start for our Hungarian celtic-punk week. Check back in a couple of days for part two of three. If you are interested in finding out more about the great celtic-punk scene in Hungary (and if you got any sense you better be) the best place to find it is the ‘Celtic Punk/ Irish Folk Hungary’ group on Facebook here

HUNGARIAN CELTIC PUNK WEEK! EP REVIEW: FIRKIN- ‘Into The Night’ (2017)

Our Hungarian Celtic Punk week continues with the second of our three reviews and this time it stars the wonderful Firkin. As they say on their press “Firkin should not be seen, Firkin must be experienced! Firkin is good, firkin’ good!” and for once when talking about European celtic punk I can agree! For the final installment check back in a couple of days.

firkin-into-ep

Well here’s the second part of our Hungarian triple header. An EP released by one of the more prominent and internationally well known of the Hungarian celtic-punk bands. Firkin’s appeal doesn’t just stop with celtic-punk fans and they are one of the biggest bands in Hungary full stop and these days quite a draw across Europe too. Formed in 2008 in the Hungarian capital of Budapest they have released a bunch of albums and toured numerous times including playing an absolutely stunning one-off show in London on New Years Eve 2015. The gig drew in equal numbers of Hungarian ex-pats and London celtic punks that raised the bloody roof off the Dublin Castle! Certainly if putting in the hard work gets you the glory then Firkin have been working overtime to get the attention they deserve. Their original vocalist Barna left since recording their last album, which we reviewed here, but new singer Andy has stepped ably into his shoes and Firkin have carried on without pause or even catching breath!

firkin-band

Into The Night starts off with the title song ‘Into the Night’ and you can spot from the very off the different approach Firkin have to celtic-punk than The Crazy Rogues, who we reviewed the other day here. A far heavier sound erupts from the speakers and they manage to have both a trad Irish and punk sound going on at the same time. Their are some similarities though. The fiddle leads the way and also flute which is used a lot here to great effect. One of my favourite memories of that London NYE gig was PJ’s playing. You just couldn’t take your eyes off him so amazing was he to watch. For an instrument that sounds so Irish it does surprise me that not more bands use in it the scene especially when you hear bands like Firkin utilising it so well. Andy also sings in English and has a very strong and clear voice and again there is a very clear story telling way of writing song lyrics going on here. If they get off to a storming start to the EP they follow it up with the more Irish trad folk based ‘Flowers’. A beautiful song that shows Andy’s voice can easily manage both the folk and punk side to Firkin. Hey I tells you if your mammy wouldn’t like this this song then she got no taste! A song that swirls around Andy’s voice which is used another instrument alongside the flute here. Originally known as ‘The Flower of Magherally’ it has been recorded in the past mainly by the Irish trad community so was unknown to me but what a bloody good version this is I straight away thought.

We have a much more widely known cover up next with ‘Johnny I Hardly Knew Ye’. Mainly famous in these circles I would have thought for the Dropkick Murphys recording that Firkin stick fairly close to. A fast paced punky song with shouty chorus and fiddle lead. First published in 1867 and written by Joseph B. Geoghegan it remained popular in Britain and Ireland and the United States into the early years of the 20th century but it was when it was recorded by The Clancy Brothers & Tommy Makem in 1961 that lead to a renewal of its popularity. An anti-war song that was used to great effect to stop Irishmen joining the British Army the story tells of an Irish woman who bumps into her former lover near Athy, Co. Kildare, Ireland. He is badly disfigured, losing his legs, his arms, his eyes and his nose and is now begging. The woman though is happy to see him and the implication is that she looks after him so for once a happy ending in an Irish song! The EP comes to an end with a bonus song that I have heard before. ‘Focimese’ was the song that Firkin wrote for the European Football Championship last year to support the Hungarian football team. It’s a rollicking great tune with plenty “La, La, La, La La’s” to keep the fans happy and a chugging guitar that accompanies the fiddle. A song that inspired the team to top their initial group before sadly losing to Belgium 4-0 in the Round Of 16. Four great tunes that show exactly why Firkin are so sought after across Europe. A absolutely perfect mix of Irish and punk rock with a real story telling way to them and on top of that a really good live show as well.

Buy The EP  FromTheBand  iTunes  Amazon

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So all in all our Hungarian celtic-punk week gets another thumbs up. Don’t forget to check back in a couple of days for our final installment. 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.

HUNGARIAN CELTIC PUNK WEEK! EP REVIEW: THE CRAZY ROGUES- ‘Rebels’ Shanties’ (2017)

ireland-hungaryAnyone remember 2015? That was the year of the Hungarian celtic-punk record. A whole host of bands coming together in a perfect storm and absolutely completely dominating the scene that year. Loch Nesz, The Jolly Jackers, The Crazy Rogues, The Scarlet, Firkin and Paddy And The Rats all featured in the London Celtic Punks end of year ‘Best Of 2015’ charts and all received glowing critical praise galore. What quite happened to them all last year is a mystery but the Hungarian celtic-punks are back with a fecking bang! So for one week we are running a Hungarian celtic-punk special. Three reviews in seven days from three amazing EP’s from three equally amazing bands who all have completely different styles of celtic-punk.

crazyroguesepThe Crazy Rogues are from Veszprém in mid-Hungary and were formed in 2014 making them among the earliest of the second wave of Hungarian celtic-punk bands.With two EP’s behind them, one of Demo versions and another called Chapter 1 which we reviewed back in 2015 here giving it a massive thumbs up. They have named their style as ‘Rogue ‘N’ Roll’ taking in elements of punk, country and bluegrass as well as Irish and Celtic. The EP begins with ‘And Then the Sky Fell’ and its fast fiddle led celtic-punk with good ole’ fashioned punk rock drumming and punk rock guitar playing in the background at times pushing the fiddle forward. ‘Fleet’ is up next and is a bit more traditional celtic-punk of the Flogging Molly kind. One of the things I liked on The Crazy Rogues previous releases is how they can switch from their folkier side to their more punky side with ease. They slow it down next with the sad tale of ‘The Sad Leprechaun’. A leprachaun is a mischievous mythical creature that roams the Irish countryside playing tricks on humans. Many though think they are real, including my Grandparents! Again the fiddle is the lead here and Verrasztó’s vocals are suitably angsty as he tells us of the life of these solitary creatures. The flute appears here and like a lot of Hungarian bands in particular it’s used to good measure.

They speed it up next with the fast paced punky song ‘Mutineers (must DIE)’ and though it does seem funny to call something a ‘traditional punk rock’ song this is it! Shouty gang choruses and fast guitar and then all of the sudden banjo pops up and we get a short blast of each band members individual talents before it ends. Short and sweet and snappy as hell and then we drift into ‘Silver Hair’ which reminds me of the sort of bluesy country folk that Shane MacGowan and The Popes were so f’ing brilliant. Superb mandolin here from Fellegi and I have to say that the mando and the banjo have been a bit low in the mix thus far so great to hear it dominate on this track. Well that is until right out the blue it suddenly switches to a ska song and the song ends with an absolute flourish with electric guitar helping it speed to a finish. The absolute standout track here for me. Can’t tell you how much I enjoyed this song! The EP ends with the song ‘Rebellion’ and is a tribute to the Easter Rising of 1916 when a small band of Irishmen and woman declared war on the British Empire. They took over several important buildings in Dublin and held them for a week against far superior British forces and many died during that week until the rebels were forced to surrender. The British executed the leaders of the rebellion and this led to a wave of sympathy which would eventually lead to full scale war across Ireland that would in the end see freedom for the 3/4’s of the country. Verrasztó’s voice is clear and loud and stamps out where The Crazy Rogues stand. A perfect celtic-punk tune with everything that makes celtic-punk great. Story based lyrics with a solid punk rock base embellished with Irish instruments especially the fiddle again. Songs to get you both thinking and dancing is what celtic-punk is all about!

crazy

So six Crazy Rogues composed songs that clock in at a very healthy twenty-five minutes and not a single sign of a cover version. All sang in English with a multitude of musical styles thrown into the celtic-punk mix and with very thoughtful lyrics about a multitude of subjects that are very easy to understand. Rebel’s Shanties is an excellent EP and The Crazy Rogues continue to forge ahead to make a name for themselves in celtic-punk circles. Like both their previous releases Rebel’s Shanties is available for ‘Name Your Price’ download which basically means pay nothing if you got nothing and a couple of pounds (or more) if you got a couple of pounds. This EP is certainly worthy of it.

(listen to the Rebel Shantie’s EP for free by pressing play on the player below)

Download The EP  Bandcamp

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So all in all a very impressive start for our Hungarian celtic-punk week. Check back in a couple of days for part two of three. If you are interested in finding out more about the great celtic-punk scene in Hungary (and if you got any sense you better be) the best place to find it is the ‘Celtic Punk/ Irish Folk Hungary’ group on Facebook here

ALBUM REVIEW: FIRKIN- ‘Finger In The Pie’ (2014)

Firkin- The crazy Irish band from Hungary!

Firkin- Finger in the Pie (2015)

Well here we go again and I feel a sense of deja-vu here as we find ourselves reviewing yet another Hungarian celtic-punk record. We seem to have done so many this year it’s hard to keep a track of them all and once again its yet another outstanding album. The quality of the music and the bands is simply unbelievable and it completely baffles me how they can manage it. Lets face it the Hungarian scene dwarfs the scene here in England in both number of bands and releases. What attracts Hungarians in such numbers to celtic/Irish music is for others more knowledgeable than myself to comment on but I for one am sure glad they are.

NYE Firkin

Firkin are one of the biggest bands in Hungary and are these days quite a draw all across Europe too. They were formed in 2008 and have released a whole bunch of albums as well as official DVD’s and toured numerous times. If putting in the work gets you the glory then certainly Firkin have been working overtime.

Though it was released last year ‘Finger In The Pie’ sees Firkin ploughing much the same field as previous albums and we are not complaining one iota. Sadly the vocalist on this album, Barna Marthy, has since left but new singer Andy has stepped ably into his shoes and Firkin carried on without pause or catching breath! The first of the album’s fourteen tracks is an old Irish trad classic, and a personal favourite of mine, ‘Donegal Danny’. From the very first bars you’ll be amazed at how clear Barna’s vocals are and he could easily pass as a local! Fast as anything but still staying close to the traditional roots of the song, about a crew of fishermen from Killibegs, who are drowned at sea, bar one, in the wild ocean of the Atlantic. Written by Phil Coulter, a genius of Irish songwriting who counts ‘The Town I Love So Well’ and ‘Scorn Not His Simplicity’ among his most famous works.

“So here’s to those that are dead and gone
The friends that I loved dear
And here’s to you then I’ll bid you adieu
Saying Donegal Danny’s been here me boys
Donegal Danny’s been here”

Followed by ‘If I Could Be The Pope’ and this strikes a chord with me. About being brought up a Catholic and it never really leaving you. Great tune with again Barna and his vocals and lyrics on fire with the flute up front and as catchy a chorus your like to hear. Love this song and definitely one of the album stand out tracks.

(not brilliant sound quality but WHAT a spectacle!)

‘Kind And Fine’ is put to the tune of ‘The Foggy Dew’ and is sung by another former band member Pali. ‘Molly Malone’ you would have heard before numerous times I am sure and if I have one minor quibble it is that while theirs nothing wrong with including songs like this in your live set I don’t see the point of recording it but this takes nothing away from Firkin who make a great stab at it with the fiddle work and whistle especially standing out. Flute starts ‘Parasite’s Lust’ and if you think its heading into Jethro Tull territory you couldn’t be more wrong as soon the band are pulling it back into classic celtic-punk territory.

‘High And Low’ sees Firkin really pushing the boat out. A string sextet accompanies them on this epic ballad that has more than a wee nod to folk-metal but without the showoffery. The song occasionally feels like it may take off but the band show great restraint in holding it back. That restraint was certainly due as the following track shows Firkin’s metal edge much more clearly and ‘The Child Of Fire’ would be at home in any folk-metal bands repertoire. Judit Bonyár guest vocals on ‘I Am Who I Am’ and her voice suits the fast celtic- rock out perfectly. The fiddle is amazing on this track and the whole song despite the female vocals has the traditional Firkin feel about it that we have come to love. ‘Loch Lomond’ sees the band step into Scots territory and the pipes begin and even if the songs title doesn’t ring too many bells as soon as Barna begins to sing you’ll be accompanying the song along. Very nicely played and again played as fast as possible but with one foot firmly in traditional music. The album’s title track is up next and ‘Finger In The Pie’ begins slowly but soon speeds up into the album’s stand out track and guaranteed to have you leaping out of your chair.

“Early in the morning with the devil in my belly
Singing nasty little tunes of the drinks last night
My finger on the phone, but I throw it on the telly
and I reach out for the bottle right by my side”

During the early slow bits of this tale of unrequited love you can feel a surge is coming and it won’t disappoint when it arrives with fiddle, flute and a electric guitar solo all at play here with the frantic drumming.

Another female guest vocalist appears on the next song, ‘My Love John’, and again Nóra Fehér has the most beautiful voice that is simply perfect to sing this song. It has a 60’s/ 70’s classic English folk sound to it and with the strings sextet back on this number as well it shows the range that Firkin have and also how far they will go to achieve perfection for their music. ‘Dirty Julie’ shows that range again as Firkin punk it up with a daft song with a catchy tin whistle laden chorus. A nod to the North-East’s premier pop-punk band The Toydolls as well and we’re heading towards the end of the album and ‘Nincompoop’ and again its a fast paced punky number and looks like ‘Finger In The Pie’ is going to go out with a bang.

And indeed the album does end with a bang with ‘Jumpin’ Lovers’. A fast as hell instrumental using the famous ‘Tam Lin’ reel. Again this may mean not so much to you but soon as the song begins i guarantee you’ll recognise the tune. Lili’s fiddle playing has been perfect throughout the album and nowhere better than on this amazing song.

So you get thirteen songs with one instrumental of which the band penned eight and a collection of six covers of traditional songs that range from the obscure to the well known. Apart from the one tiny gripe mentioned above this is a great album and further cements Firkin’s place as one of Europe’s best and most favoured celtic-punk bands. At well over forty minutes you certainly get your monies worth too and the actual CD is put together with a lot of thought and devotion with band photos galore and lyrics included.

Firkin NYE

to be re-directed to the Facebook event simply click on the flyer

Firkin are heading our way later this month for a gig at the famous Dublin Castle in Camden on New Years Eve. They will be joined on stage by another band who recently lost an important member but have come back stronger than ever in Mick O’Toole. To say I am looking forward to this is an understatement and I can honestly say there’s no better way to see in 2016 than in the company of these two great bands.

Buy The Album

FromTheBand  iTunes  Amazon  

Contact The Band

WebSite  Facebook  Twitter  YouTube  Soundcloud  Spotify

if you are interested in finding out more about the great scene in Hungary (and you’d be mad not to be) the best place to visit is the ‘Celtic Punk/ Irish Folk Hungary’ group on Facebook here.

for an alternative view of this album check here and read ‘Celtic Folk Punk And More’ and their view of ‘Finger In The Pie.

  • Firkin released ‘Revox’ this year which was a three track single featuring the songs ‘If I Could Be The Pope’, ‘Finger In The Pie’ and ‘Parasite’s Lust’ featuring new singer Andy and as stated above he has filled Barna’s shoes and more!

ALBUM REVIEW: PADDY AND THE RATS- ‘Lonely Hearts Boulevard’ (2015)

“Hungary’s most famous Irish folk punk band”

Paddy And The Rats- Lonely Hearts Boulevard

Looking back on 2015 it will be forever known as the year of the Hungarian celtic-punk band! Already this year we have reviewed releases by Loch Nesz, The Jolly Jackers, The Scarlet and The Crazy Rogues and we still haven’t got round to reviewing the new album by Firkin either!

PATR2Paddy And The Rats are probably the best known of all the Hungarian celtic-punk bands and deservedly so. Hard work and constant touring have paid dividends for the band and these days they are known throughout Europe for their superb records and great live shows. With three albums behind them- ‘Rats On Board’, ‘Hymns For Bastards’ and ‘Tales From The Docks’- I awaited this new album with bated breath and I am very glad to report I was not disappointed at all.

Formed in 2008 it was their love of Irish music, pirates and punk rock that inspired them to start a band up and they have been going strong and getting stronger ever since. The original celtic-punk sound is still evident on Lonely Hearts Boulevard but it is also clear that the band are moving slightly away from it too. No harm in that. Its called progression and I’d rather they did that than just stick to playing ‘The Wild Rover’ for evermore.

Lonely Hearts Boulevard begins with ‘Keep The Devil Down In The Hole’ but is not the famous Tom Waits/ The Wire song but classic celtic punk rock with great banjo playing and the closest you’ll get to a country and western fiddle being played in a punk rock band. Reminds me of Flogging Molly somewhat and that is never a bad thing. Following is the the title track and ‘Lonely Hearts Boulevard’ follows much the same formula and is my favourite album track. Catchy as hell and a real toe tapper. On first listen you would take this album to be a real uplifting experience. The songs certainly bounce along with tons of energy but lyrically it’s a dark journey through pain, loneliness and struggle.

“Coz there’s a lot of pain
While we’re marching
Down through the life
And there’s a lot of fear
As we walk through the dark
On the Lonely Hearts Boulevard”

Bagpipes come in towards the end and complete the celtic sound. ‘My Sharona’ has a Sparks feel to it and is the first track without any sort of ‘celticness’. Still it rocks my boat and I am not complaining. Paddy And The Rats enter proper anthem territory with ‘Rogue’, a song that will I am sure get the audience on their feet at gigs.

Their first trip across the sea with a number about trying to keep one ahead of the navy while a bounty is placed on your head.

“Hold again
For the last sea and the friends
Take away my heart from this dusty land
They call me the rogue
But I’ll keep on looting, my friend
Let’s haul the rope again”

‘That’s My Nature’ is also one of the album stand out tracks and comes with a cracking video too. There’s a slight metal edge to the guitars and even though the ‘celtic-ness’ is toned down a bit here it’s still a great song. As with all the great celtic-punk premier league groups, to become one of the scene’s truly treasured bands it’s not just 110 mph fast fast fast you have to be master of the ballad too. Or at least for a minute or two before cranking it back up to 110 mph again. ‘Sleeping With The Winter’ is the former and is a welcome change after the previous five tracks. Very American sounding and the sort of track you could imagine any of the scene’s greats playing. Slow acoustic and with great heartfelt lyrics. ‘Drunker Than You’ is the closest on this album to Paddy And The Rats and their first album. A shitload of swearing accompanied by frantic fiddle, accordion and banjo and all the while Paddy O’Reilly shouting tunefully over the top. Paddy is a great front man and his voice fits perfectly.  ‘Captain Of My Soul’ continues with the celtic feel and begins with piano before fiddle jumps in and so begins a cracking song. Exactly what celtic-punk should be. A real punked up Irish tune with great lyrics too.

“I follow my lush heart
There’s immortal, lamp flame
I slunk like a wise wolf
Between lust and shame
If I let myself tempted
By the killing snake eyes
I forget my greedy vice”

The country/celtic of ‘Blue Eyes’ is a welcome slow down and the banjo picking is superb and leads us into a tale of debauchery in ‘Rock This City’ that any pirate would be proud of. The city is Budapest and with Paddy And The Rats in town I’m sure it is rocked to the max. Bagpipes give the song a nice Dropkick Murphys sound and if you close your eyes you could be in Boston.

“I outshined the sun
And I stole the moon
I fucked with the stars
On sunday afternoon
All of your dreams are made
If you wanna believe
I’ll put a smile on you
Before I leave”

Frantic punk rock drumming and electric guitar on ‘Time Is In My Hands’ can’t hide the celtic tune it’s wrapped around while ‘Without You (I Don’t Wanna Dance)’ is one of the more radio friendly album tracks and comes accompanied by a video with the band frollicking at the beach with a host of young maidens. This summery song sure is catchy enough but give me celtic-punk any day!

‘Junkyard Girl’ is a straight up punk tune with daft lyrics and Lonely Hearts Boulevard’s fourteen tracks comes to an end with ‘What We Are’. Again outstanding lyrics and a slower song building up and up. The ‘fist in the air’ song of the album by a long way. The song ends abruptly with the whole band singing along in a song that I would imagine means a lot to them personally.

 “Sometimes it’s hard to have the courage
To start all over again
But never be afraid to fight for yourself, my friend
Time is the longest distance
Between now and your dreams
Let’s find for you
A different point of view”

So there you have it. Don’t come along to ‘Lonely Hearts Boulevard’ expecting the full on Irish/ celtic tunes of previous albums but instead expect a band not happy just to rest on their laurels, that continues to play celtic-punk but with more and more influences flooding in. That a lot of these songs were originally intended for a solo album explains a lot to me. Paddy And The Rats are going places and they won’t be confined to any genre just for the sake of it. Onwards and upwards but don’t worry just yet they are in no hurry to forget their celtic punk roots any time soon.

PATR1

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a couple more interesting sites are the ‘Paddy And The Rats Fan Group’ here and the ‘Celtic Punk/irish Folk Hungary’ Facebook group here is a great community of like minded people.

here

EP REVIEW: THE CRAZY ROGUES- ‘Chapter One’ (2015)

Irish-country folk-punk from Veszprém in Hungary

The Crazy Rogues- 'Chapter One' (2015)

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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 Crazy Rogues

The Crazy Rogues Standing: Godár Máté (Electric Guitar, Vocals) * Fellegi Krisz (Banjo) * Biermann Teo (Flute) * Szelényi Dániel (Acoustic Guitar, Vocals) * Faragó Dániel (Violin) Front: Nagy Ákos (Drums) * Fazekas Gábor (Bass, Vocals)

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”

The Crazy Rogues

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’)

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you also can hear it on YouTube here

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  • their is even more Hungarian celtic-punk to come as I just found out that Paddy And The Rats are releasing a new album very soon to be called ‘Lonely Hearts Boulevard’. So keep watching this space!

EP REVIEW: LOCH NESZ- ‘Leave The Captain Behind’ (2015)

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LOCH NESZ- ‘Leave The Captain Behind’ (2015)

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.

Loch Nesz

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!

Loch NeszContact The Band

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to hear a selection of Loch Nesz songs from their various releases press play below

you can download The Scarlet’s EP here and The Jolly Jackers album here

and if you are on Facebook then go along to the ‘Celtic Punk/Irish Folk Hungary’ group page here where a warm welcome awaits you!

ALBUM REVIEW: JOLLY JACKERS- ‘Sobriety’ (2015)

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Jolly Jackers- 'Sobriety'

Hot on the heels of our recent review of The Scarlet’s new EP arrives the new album from another Hungarian band the Jolly Jackers. Writing that review of the The Scarlet’s EP (here) I commented about how good the celtic-punk scene in Hungary is at the moment with bands like The Scarlet, Firkin, Loch Nesz, Paddy And The Rats, to name but a few, and lo and behold straight after another grand Hungarian celtic-punk album lands on my doorstep. The Jolly Jackers hail from Dunaújváros a working class city in central Hungary famed for its steelworks, which is the largest in the country. They have only been going for a little over a year but in ‘Sobriety’ they have produced an absolute belter of a record and, even better for you the punter, they have made it available for free download as well.

Jolly Jackers

(band from left to right) Bence Berta (Drums) István Farkas (Guitar, Acoustic guitar, Vocal) István Faragó “Sztivi” (Guitar, Acoustic guitar, Lead Vocal) Andrea Boncz (Flute, Tin Whistle, Vocal) Enikő Papp (Bass guitar, Vocal) Krisztina Ujházy (Violin, Vocal)

click on the cover above to re-direct to your free download

click on the cover above to re-direct to your free download

They already had a fantastic EP under their belts titled ‘Call The Captain’ that they released in March last year and is also available for free download. (Simply click on the EP record sleeve to be re-directed). ‘Sobriety’s’ nine tracks are all self penned with the exception of an excellently played cover so once again my hat goes off to the band for that. It’s often too easy to pad out your records with covers so its good to see more and more bands writing their own material. The only minor gripe I have, and to be honest it is only a gripe as I wanted to hear more, is that the record flies by so quickly. The Jolly Jackers keep up such an almighty pace all the way through you’ll be breathless as well by the end.

The first track begins with tin whistle before crashing guitars and fiddle take the title track ‘Sobriety’ off into territory far away from the Mollys or the Murphys and finds The Jolly Jackers finding their own sound.

“Sobriety, sobriety! My little punk!
Sobriety, sobriety! We are drunk!”

‘Sobriety’ is not a subject much heard in celtic-punk but don’t worry the bhoys and ghirls are not Pioneers and next track ‘Whiskey’ kicks off sounding like a ballad till the fiddle and some pretty amazing bluegrass style banjo underpinnning the tin whistle in a story of bar-flies. ‘The House’ takes us on a scary Halloween tale of a haunted house with whistle and chugging guitars.

“Hey! Hey! Blow the candles out!
Hey! Take the bottles and get out!
Hey! Hey! Get your girl and run!
Hey! For tonight there’s no more fun!
Run for your life! Run for your life!”

American country influences on ‘Hey Johnny’ and yet more punk rock banjo make this one of the album’s standout track for me. ‘The Train Never Stops’ is a sad song with mournful whistle and acoustic guitar about the death of a friend of the band through addiction.

“I still can hear Tommy’s laughs, now he’s on a train that never stops”

After that emotional ride ‘Get A Life’ grabs you by the throat and shows the Jolly Jackers can ramp it up and play a bit of good old-fashioned punk rock. Starting off like an classic punk song slowly the celtic instruments are introduced and this catchy as hell track would have pleased any of the celtic-punk scenes big hitters to have written. ‘Gold Rush’ is another catchy number with the bands elements coming together very nicely. The albums only cover is a well played version of ‘Star Of The County Down’  and even though it has been covered a fair few times its a great version and extremely well played. I think it would have been a nice touvh for the band to have sung ths in their native language personally. The album ends with the brilliant ‘Call The Captain’ a live acoustic version of the title track from that first EP. With influences from their native country on first listen it sounds a bit chucked together but listen again and you hear the intricacies involved.

All in all a very solid first album and different enough from their fellow Hungarian bands to plough their own furrow. Jolly Jackers certainly have the songs and musicianship to go beyond their own borders and I can definitly see them following Paddy And The Rats onto bigger things. Is this the year of the Hungarian band? Well two reviews into 2015 and they are both Hungarian so it would seem yes!

(press play below to hear the complete album)

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