Five crazy Bruchem people. Let them explode. Get a joyful mix of celtic, punk, rock, and folk.
On first listen this seems a rather odd album here from Dutch folkies Pyrolysis that sits very nicely on the folkier side of celtic-punk. Repeated listening to ‘On Mountains High I Stand’ reveals a really nice traditional folk sound that isn’t afraid to go heads down into celtic-punk territory sometimes. The band I am most reminded of here is The Whisky Priests who flamed very brightly cross Europe in the 90’s with their unique brand of Geordie (Newcastle) English folk-punk music. The album begins with a pirate-punk song called ‘Yarr’ and from the off you can tell this is not going to be an album you will be able to pigeonhole easily. A quest for adventure and treasure while plundering and drinking! The accordion reigns here and in pretty much every song is the dominant instrument.
The band sing of their love for whiskey in ‘Black Grouse Noise’ which adds in electric guitar for the first time and Pyrolysis show their punkier side. ‘Face’ starts and within the first few bars you’re not quite sure whether its heading in a punk, ska or folk direction and in the end it ends up as a heads down rock number with distorted guitar and gang vocals but its the addition of Hammond organ that brings the song out of the ordinary. On ‘Morrison’s Jig’ the band go all out traditional and fiddle and bodhran are to the fore and they pull it off admirably. A real barnstormer this. One of the absolute album stand out tracks is ‘Battle Cry’ and to fully appreciate the song watch it with the video below.
The electric guitars are a wee bit subdued and the accordion and vocals shine right out at you.
“The grace of God from far above
Is nowhere to be found
The helmet are the sight
And the horns they are the sound”
A very definite Scottish folk sound here with the occasional nod over to the Emerald Isle and ‘A Song Called Cheese’ shows a lighter side to Pyrolysis and their sense of humour. The flute pops up with a thundering bass in the back ground and a real foot tapper begins. Sounding rather like celtic-indie they may have started their own genre but ‘Wake’ returns them to their folk roots.They pull off a fantastic version of ‘Wind That Shakes The Barley’ next and breathe new life into this classic song. Beginning with piano and then closely followed by fiddle this is an extremely well played and catchy instrumental tune. The song ends and instantly cracks into ‘Loch Lomond’ and the switch from Ireland to Scotland is at its most blatant with this superb acapella version of this classic traditional song first published back in 1841. Its origins are unsure but the most popular theory is that it is connected to the failed Jacobite Uprising of 1745 and that the lyrics describe a lover of a captured Jacobite rebel set to be executed in London. The heads of the executed rebels were then set upon pikes and exhibited in all of the towns between London and Edinburgh in a procession along the ‘high road’, the most important road, while the relatives of the rebels walked back along the ‘low road’, the ordinary road travelled by peasants and commoners.
“O ye’ll take the high road, and I’ll take the low road,
And I’ll be in Scotland afore ye,
Where me and my true love will never meet again,
On the bonnie, bonnie banks of Loch Lomond”
The version performed by Pyrolysis is best remembered by the legendary English 60’s folk group The King’s Singers with the second and third verses originally by a bass and tenor (listen here) but Pyrolysis have added female vocals and it sounds great. In its native Scotland the song is often the final piece of music played after an evening of partying though here though it signals just over half way point of the album. ‘Salvation’takes them in another direction and reminds me a lot of The Men They Couldn’t Hang before it gets going and goes off in a pop-punk direction. ‘Standing Tall (Above It All) takes a harder musical approach with you thinking its really going to take off before it slows down again before the chugging guitars come in. Possibly the most celtic-punk sounding of the albums tracks I would say with the electric guitars sounding terrific. ‘Life At Morrisons’ is another stand out and again i think the guitars could have done with being turned up a tad but a great song that rattles along with distorted guitar and harmonica pushing it along. A great drunken video clip is worth a watch. Great fun and filmed in Morrisons Irish Pub in their home town of Rossum in the Netherlands.
The album is coming to an end and ‘Lets Do It Now’ is a short punky number that shows that Pyrolysis can turn their hand to traditional punk as well as traditional folk music! ‘Rofuss’ is the final track and is the albums most epic and ambitious song. A long rambling track of flute and bodhran and fiddle and voice and all manner of instruments that perfectly shows Pyrolysis talents.
Formed only five years ago this album is a follow up to the 2012 mini-album/EP ‘Remedy For The Night’ and is ever so slightly a wee bit unpolished but so what. Since when has music been about perfect production. Celtic music is music to be enjoyed live and this album has a real good live feel to it and that is what makes it such a fun listen. Fourteen songs that take just over forty minutes to play so the songs rattle along at a fair old speed and there’s no pause for breath. I can easily recommend this album for you. I have been playing it here at London Celtic Punks headquarters and have seriously enjoyed this infectious romp through celtic-folk-punk.
(to hear the whole of ‘On Mountains High I Stand’ press play on the Bandcamp player directly below. Click on the link below the player to buy the album.)
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and finally just in case you were wondering (I had to look it up myself!)
- the application of heat to chemical compounds in order to cause decomposition
- chemical decomposition of compounds caused by high temperatures