German band Paddy’s Punk play Irish Folk-Punk, classic Irish Folk and Celtic-Rock and have been on our radar for a couple of years now. With the odd video and song sneaking through it’s been a long wait for their debut album With Full Horse.
Paddy’s Punk were founded in 2017 in the area of Dessau / Leipzig in what use to be East Germany before unification with the West in 1990. I have spoken before on this site about the affinity between Germany and Celtic music and culture but especially with that of Ireland. Time and time again when I have met German folk I have been impressed by their knowledge of Irish culture, music and history. That Celtic are by far the most popular foreign team among German football supporters is testament to that affinity. There are several theories for this but my guess is that the Germans love a drink, … err …. how do I put this … don’t support England and love a good party so it has got to be between us and the Mexicans. And we are closer!
I’ve always met Germans in Ireland and I remember many years ago as a kid having a conversation about the Wolfe Tones with a German tourist while waiting on a train at Limerick Junction. The folk from Paddy’s Punk are no different and made numerous visits across the Irish sea before deciding to combine their love for Irish music and their musical roots (from bands such as Faust, Die Tornados and Red Point DC) as Paddy’s Punk. It’s been four years since their first release Sláinte Mhaith. A six track EP that came out on vinyl and CD and was released by Hoehnie Records. Five of their own compositions and one cover of raw, melancholic and melodic tracks. It stood out at the time for having female vocals and while we never like to labour issues like that it made a refreshing change not only because they were female but, more importantly, because they were also bloody good. The EP is still available (on green vinyl) from Hepcat Records.
The main single for the album was ‘Five Points’ which popped up on You Tube back in March to announce the forthcoming album. The song is named after the 19th-century slum neighbourhood in New York City. At it’s height it was home to the New York Irish escaping An Gorta Mór (the great hunger) and only London’s East End vied with it in the western world for disease, infant and child mortality, unemployment, violent crime and other examples of ‘white privilege’. Alina’s vocals are a treat and in that typical European way her English is absolutely perfect and she even gives it a slight Irish tinge. The music is kind of laid back Punk-Rock with Folky interludes. The kind of music that crosses over several boundaries and I’m sure would see the band at home at Punk and Folk gigs. ‘Hangover’ is the album’s first drinking song. A necessary staple of German Celtic-Punk bands. Catchy, foot tapping stuff for the oldies or get in the pit and have a bounce round for the young guns. ‘Evening Rise’ was another single and video released just this week.
Paddy’s Punk have never overly relied on covers so they can be forgiven for ‘Fields Of Athenry’. It may be a tad overdone in the Celtic-Punk scene but it is a great song and I never get tired of hearing bands trying to give it a new twist. Alina’s vocals are fittingly beautiful while the band rock it up but stick to the tried and tested formula but still give the recently deceased Pete St. John’s song their own stamp. ‘Irish Friends’ slows things down and tells of the band’s visits to Ireland and the friendships they made. ‘Paddy Wagon’ sees the band turn up the Irish to 11 with one of the album’s standout tracks.
The band are covering all the required bases here and next up is a proper shit-kicking expertly played Irish instrumental, ‘Spirit Of Lettermore’ named for a village in county Galway. ‘Pictures’ is another standout. A cracker with dual vocals, chugging guitar and amazing fiddle. ‘Mairi’s Wedding’ is a Scottish Folk song written in the 1900’s and is perhaps most famous these days after being recorded by Ferocious Dog and is one of their live favourites. Paddy’s Punk play it brilliantly not straying too far again from the usual sound but I still bloody loved it. ‘Waiting For Someone’ sees them swirling and waltzing away while ‘Need A Drink’ sees them sounding not too unlike The Pogues (the only time on this album I can compare them to anyone else) until the guitars and drums come crashing through the door! Only three covers out of fourteen which is highly commendable as they manage to take some well known songs and make them their own. ‘Danny Boy’ sees them playing this most treasured of Irish songs leading us into final track the hauntingly stunninginstrumental ‘Drommeland’.
Paddy’s Punk are a excellent band with some brilliantly crafted songs and that ability to be just Punk enough for the Punks and Folk enough for the Folkies. While it is the great vocals that really stand out here they are but one thing and you do need the songs and the musicians to match them and on With Full Horse they most certainly do.
Buy With Full Horse CD- Smith And Miller