Hot on the heels of another superb Italian celtic-punk album release from Uncle Bard And The Dirty Bastards comes ‘Pretty Work Brave Boys!’ the new album from Kitchen Implosion. They are in fact a band with extensive roots and can be considered early pioneers of the folk-punk scene in Italy. Back in the early 90s a group of mates got together to play music and have a laugh. They called themselves In The Kitchen and slowly began to build up a enormous fan base by playing all over Italy and Switzerland for over ten years. Sadly that great band came to an end and the boys went onto other things but more than twenty years after that original bands formation In The Kitchen began to meet up and play the very occasional gig. These very occasional gigs began to get more regular and so they decided to reform but in a tribute to the original band and also a way to show their fresh start they chose the name Kitchen Implosion.
The band hail from northern-Italy and they combine the best in celtic/Irish with music from their own region with old school punk as played by the scenes greats like The Ramones or The Clash. Acoustic instruments whip up a storm as loud as any punk band could and when these guys do ‘punk out’ it turns into a proper session! The albums opener is the most popular Irish ballad of all time ‘Danny Boy’. Starting off as sounding like the aforementioned Ramones but soon turns into a great punk rock ballad. I really like Wenzo’s vocal style. Its probably very typical of a punk band but unusual in the celtic-punk scene where i think bands can try sometimes to sound too ‘correct’. The slightly anguished twist is absolutely perfect for the music.Folllowing that is ‘Barbagal’ and it can be described as the reason the word ‘catchy’ was invented! Not sure what the lyrics are about but God is it catchy. Chugging guitar and great accordion work combining brilliantly. Its a cover of a song by Piedmontese 70s folk legends ‘Cantovivo’.
Piedmont being a mainly agricultural area has a long history of immigration so they know well the story behind the next song ‘The Leaving Of Liverpool’. Again given the Kitchen Implosion treatment the guitars and accordion drive each other on and will leave you out of breath if you try to sing along. ‘Magg’, about the month of May,is another traditional Piedmont song and shows perfectly the mix of old and new that Kitchen Implosion, and celtic-punk bands in general bring breathing new life into the songs of our grandparents.
The Irish rebel song ‘Four Green Fields’ is next and Kitchen Implosion punk it up again and feck me but I’m sure Tommy Makem is staring down with a Guinness and a big grin upon hearing this. The four fields are seen as the four provinces of Ireland (Munster, Connacht, Ulster and Leinster) with the field in bondage being Ulster that Britain still controls (“though not for long”- more of that later!). Next up is ‘Sams Gone Away’ is a old sea shanty tune given a furious rejig and is up there as good as I’ve heard. Sams gone away on a ship you see.
“Sams gone away, aboard a man o’war!
Pretty work, brave boys,
Pretty work I say!
Sams gone away, aboard a man o’war!”
The band come from the region of Piedmont that has its own language that is spoken by over a million people. We are long time supporters of regional languages here and we love the fact that Kitchen Implosion sing in both Piedmontese and Italian. ‘La Bergera’ is a traditional song and once again the accordion rules with tin whistle until the band kicks in with one of the albums standout tracks. They show their love for the celtic nations with a brilliant bagpipe punk version of Scotland The Brave that sails past far too quickly. Next up is ‘South Australia’ and is a rolicking good tune to begin with but Kitchen Implosion give it as good as anyone but I do think this tune is a bit overdone in the celtic-punk scene (along with ‘Fields’). Their back on Irish soil again arguably the most famous and popular Irish rebel song of all time ‘The Merry Ploughboy’. Telling the tale of joining the IRA to fight in the War Of Independence its been adapted and changed over the years and can be heard sung regularly over the ‘terraces’ at Celtic Park. A simple and classic song that has inspired generations of people to resist tyranny and oppression
“Well some men fight for silver and some men fight for gold
But the I.R.A. is fighting for the land that the Saxon stole”
Track 11 is perhaps the song closest to the boys heart. ‘Valesia’ is an anti-fascist anthem about the Partisans who fought the nazi’s during the 2nd World War. The Italian resistance was huge and fought bravely throughout the fascist takeover and later the German invasion. The pipes are back with great effect and the vocals stir the blood as only the greatest rebel songs ever can. ‘La Maire e la Filho’ continues in much the same way with shouty choruses and reminding me of Breton legends Las Ramoneurs De Menhirs a wee bit. The album comes to an end with ‘Larmor Beach’ and begins with pipes and a punk rock guitar intro that reminds me of something but I can’t quite put me finger on it. Great stuff and sadly the only original track on the album. I say sadly as if the band can come up with stuff of this quality they need to get round a table and get writing some new material immediately! Veering from punk into new wave and ska the song never strays far from celtic-punk and I would say is the albums outstanding number.
A grand album put together by people who care and cherish the songs of a people many miles away that they have an awful lot in common with. The warm and comforting sounds of pipes, whistles and accordions with the rough and powerful sounds of electric guitars, bass and drums. The melding together of traditional celtic and northern-Italian tunes in a perfect way and as I already said breathing new life into these songs and ensuring they are passed along with our history and our heritage to another generation. This album’s thirteen songs could easily stand alone as either a celtic/ folk or a punk album but as it is it easily one of this years most impressive celtic-punk records.
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here’s another review of the album from CELTIC FOLK PUNK AND MORE blog here!