Tag Archives: Rovers Ahead

CELTIC CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS and a MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL THE LONDON CELTIC PUNKS FAMILY

All the best for a happy Christmas and a peaceful and prosperous new year for us all…

(Danish/Dublin band ROVERS AHEAD have released a new Christmas single for 2015)

CELTIC CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS

According to long standing theory, the origins of Christmas stems from pagan winter festivals. One main reason early Christians were able to spread their religion across Europe so quickly came from their willingness to embrace celebrations already common among regional populations. One such example is the Celtic ‘Alban Arthuan’, a Druidic festival that took place around December 21st, the Winter Solstice. This traditional fire festival celebrated the re-birth of the Sun.

Christmas

Although a celebration of the Son’s birth replaced that of the Sun’s, still a number of ancient Celtic Christmas traditions remain today.

As we look across the Celtic nations, it is interesting to note some similarities among Christmas traditions that cross geographic boundaries. They include, for example: Holly (a symbol of rebirth among Pagan Celts, but also of hospitality—it was believed fairies sought shelter inside the evergreen leaves to escape the cold); Mistletoe (believed to have healing powers so strong that it warded off evil spirits, cured illnesses and even facilitated a truce between enemies); fire and light (most notably the Yule log or candles placed in windows to light the way for strangers and symbolically welcoming Mary and Joseph); and door-to-door processions, from wassailing to Wren Hunts.

Each of the seven nations possesses its own variations of Celtic Christmas customs. Surrounding cultures and local identify shape theses practices as well.

SCOTLAND

Flag ScotlandChristmas was not officially recognized in Scotland for nearly four centuries. The Puritan English Parliament banned Christmas in 1647 and it did not become a recognized public holiday in Scotland until 1958.

However, according to Andrew Halliday, in his 1833 piece Christmas in Scotland, Scots were not discouraged from celebrating Christmas. Halliday wrote

“We remember it stated in a popular periodical, one Christmas season not long ago, that Christmas-day was not kept at all in Scotland. Such is not the case; the Scots do keep Christmas-day, and in the same kindly Christian spirit that we do, though the Presbyterian austerity of their church does not acknowledge it as a religious festival”

Halliday’s 19th century account went on to describe festive sowens (sweetened oat gruel) ceremonies, “beggars” (actually “strapping fellows”) singing yule song, dances and card parties and children’s teetotum games.

Despite Puritan rule, some long-time Christmas traditions are preserved. These include burning the Cailleach (a piece of wood carved to look like an old woman’s face or the Spirit of Winter) to start the new year fresh; or on Christmas Eve burning rowan tree branches to signify the resolution of any disputes. The Celtic tradition of placing candles in windows was also done in Scotland to welcome “first footers” (strangers, bearing a small gift) into the home.

Traditional dishes also continue to be featured at Christmas lunch and throughout the holidays, including Cock-a-Leekie soup, smoked salmon, beef or duck, Clootie dumplings, black buns, sun cakes, Christmas pudding and Crannachan.

Because Christmas was not an official holiday until the late ‘50s it is no surprise that today, for some Scots, Hogmanay (New Year’s Eve) is the most important event of the season. Arguably, locals ring in the new year with much more gusto than any other place on the planet.

IRELAND

flagAn Autumn clean up was a common practice in Irish homes to prepare for Christmas. Women looked after cleaning the interior, while men took care of the outdoors, including whitewashing all exterior surfaces. Then holly, grown wild in Ireland, was spread throughout the house with cheer. Contemporary Ireland also highlights this clean-up ritual; once complete, fresh Christmas linens are taken out of storage.

Other customs include the Bloc na Nollaig or Christmas Block (the Irish version of the Yule log), candles in the window (perhaps one for each family member), and leading up to Christmas, ‘Calling the Waites’ where musicians would wake up townspeople through serenades and shouting out the morning hour.

Christmas Eve Mass is still a grand affair; a time for friends and family to reconnect. It is not uncommon for churchgoers to end up at the local pub after service to ring in Christmas morn.

On Christmas Day, traditional dishes include roast goose or ham and sausages, potatoes (such as champ), vegetables (such as cabbage with bacon) and plum pudding, whiskey, Christmas cake and barmbrack (currant loaf) for sweets.

Traditionally on December 26th, St. Stephen’s Day, Wren Boys with blackened faces, carrying a pole with a dead bird pierced at the top, tramped from house to house. Today the custom sometimes sees children caroling throughout the neighbourhood to raise money for charity. It is also quite common to go out visiting on this day.

WALES

Flag WalesMusic was and still is a major part of Welsh holidays. Plygain is a Christmas day church service, traditionally held between three and six in the morning featuring males singing acapella in three or four-part harmonies. While today this may be mainly practised in rural areas, Eisteddfodde (caroling) is abundantly popular in homes, door-to-door and as part of annual song-writing competitions.

Dylan Thomas’ story ‘A Child’s Christmas in Wales’ is renowned around the world. An excerpt offers a glimpse of a traditional Welsh festive season:

“Always on Christmas night there was music. An uncle played the fiddle, a cousin sang ‘Cherry Ripe’ and another uncle sang ‘Drake’s Drum’… Looking through my bedroom window, out into the moonlight and the unending smoke-coloured snow, I could see the lights in the windows of all the other houses on our hill and hear the music rising from them up the long, steady falling night”

Other intriguing Welsh traditions include toffee making; drinking from a communal wassail bowl of fruit, spices, sugar and beer; children visiting homes on New Year’s Day looking for their Callenig gift; and Mary Lwyd (Grey Mare) featuring wassail singers going door-to-door carrying a horse’s skull and challenging residents in a contest of mocking rhymes.

ISLE OF MAN

Flag Isle Of ManCarolling also holds a special place in Manx Christmas celebrations, but traditionally an unconventional twist characterized it. On Christmas Eve, large numbers attended church for Carval. While the congregation sang, all of a sudden women would begin the traditional food fight, having peas on hand to throw at their male counterparts!

Accounts from the 1700s and 1800s describe 12 days of non-stop Christmas celebrations where every barn was filled with dancers accompanied by fiddlers the local parish hired. The Reverend John Entick recorded in 1774

“On the twelfth day the fiddler lays his head on one of the women’s laps, which posture they look upon as a kind of oracle. For one of the company coming up and naming every maiden in the company, asks the fiddler, who shall this or that girl marry? And whatever he answers it is absolutely depended on as an oracle”

As in Celtic fashion, Hunting the Wren processions occurred on the Isle of Man and today the practice is going through a revival, characterized by costumes, singing and dancing.

Other Manx customs include Mollag Bands, wearing eccentric clothing, swinging a mollag (fishing float) and demanding money (a practice since outlawed); the kissing bush (a more elaborate ornament than a sprig of mistletoe); and Cammag, a sport that originated on the Isle of Man traditionally played on December 26th and/or Easter Monday.

Finally, in older times but even as recently as the early 20th century, Christmas decorations were not taken down until Pancake Tuesday (when they were burnt under the pancake pan). Now holiday décor tends to be packed away on Old Christmas (January 6th).

CORNWALL

Flag CornwallAs a result of Oliver Cromwell banning Christmas, authentic holiday carols began to fade through much of Britain. However, throughout the 1800’s, Cornish composers and collectors sparked a revival of local Christmas song.

Certain carols well-known around the world, such as Hark the Herald Angels and While Shepherds, are credited to Cornish origins.

“Contrary to the effect Methodism might have had on the English carollers, in Cornwall its impact was to stimulate song,” states the Cornwall Council (Cornish Christmas Carols – Or Curls, 2011). “In those areas where Methodism was strongest, music and signing had their greatest appeal, and notably so at Christmas. The singers would practice in chapels and school-rooms, some of them walking miles to be there”

Today, Cornwall erupts in festivals, fairs and markets during the holidays. The Montol Festival in Penzance (named for Montol Eve on December 21st) is a six-day celebration highlighting many Cornish traditions. These include Mummers plays, lantern processions, Guise dancing (participants dress in masks and costume, such as mock formal dress, to play music and dance).

Montol is also the time for burning the Mock (yule log). A stickman or woman is drawn on the block of wood with chalk. When the log burns, it symbolizes the death of the old year and birth of the year to come.

BRITTANY

Flag BrittanyBrittany boasts a wealth of folklore and supernatural beliefs around Christmas time. Christmas Eve was known as a night of miraculous apparitions from fairies to Korrigans, and at midnight, for just a brief moment, waters in the wells would turn into the most sweet-tasting wine. It was also at midnight, when families were either at mass or in bed, that ghosts would surface; traditionally food was left out for deceased loved ones just in case they visited.

During the holidays, Christmas markets come alive in many Breton towns vending hand-made crafts and toys, baked cakes and bread and ingredients for Christmas dinner. You can also buy Gallette des Rois at stalls, as well as bakeries, which is traditionally eaten on January 6th (Epiphany). A tiny figurine (the fève) is hidden inside the puff pastry cake; the person who finds the figurine in their piece gets to be king or queen for the day and wear a crown. Another special tradition through all of France is a meal after Christmas Eve’s midnight mass, called Réveillon. Specifically in Britanny, the traditional dish for this occasion is buckwheat crêpes with cream.

GALICIA

Flag GaliciaGalicia has its own unique Christmas gift-bearer that pre-dates Christianity. He is called Apalpador, a giant who lives in the mountains. For Christmas, he descends into the villages below to make sure each child has a full belly. He brings treats, such as chestnuts, and well wishes for a year full of delicious sustenance. While Apalpador may not be widely observed in Galicia, his legend is seeing a revival.

Food is very important during the Galician holidays, featuring at least two feasts (on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day). Not surprisingly, seafood is on the menu, including lobster, prawns, shrimp, sea bass, and cod with garlic and paprika sauce. Other culinary delights consist of cured meat, cheese and bread, roast beef with vegetables and for dessert tarta de Santiago (almond cake), filloas (stuffed pancakes) and turrones (nougats).

The children of anticipate the coming of the Three Kings or Magis by filling their shoes and leaving them outside on Epiphany Eve, January 5th. Many Galician’s communities also parade on the 5th.

So there you have it the old traditions just like the traditional music we all love live on…

support a fantastic celtic-punk band by giving just a measly dollar (or about 66p in Brit money) by downloading the new Rovers Ahead single below from Bandcamp)

Now go and have a drink!

LONDON CELTIC PUNKS PRESENTS OUR BEST OF 2014!

TOP TWENTY CELTIC PUNK ALBUMS OF 2014

Last year our ‘Best Of’ list was completely dominated by bands from these shores but this time there’s a much more international flavour to 2014’s Best Album’s list. Again Irish influenced bands dominate but the absolute standout album for me was without a doubt Uncle Bard And The Dirty Bastards from Italy who nailed their fusion of punk rock and traditional music completely. With their own roots and influences included along with some amazing uilleann piping they are deserved winners of the Best Album spot. Kitchen Implosion join them in what has been a great year for Italian bands. Sure not all of these twenty bands are celtic-punk in the dictionary definition of the phrase but sod that anyway. These are what we liked and they all fit in in some way. Twenty bands from thirteen countries (Italy, England, Sweden, Brittany, Canada, Ireland, USA, Australia, Brazil, Catalonia, Germany, Switzerland and Belguim) which only goes to show the international appeal of the celtic-punk scene these days. A special mention for London Irish band Creeds Cross superb debut album. Only just caught them live and they were awesome so hoping to see much more of them around town in 2015.
As ever we have reviewed some, though not all of these albums, so click (here) after the title and you will be re-directed to our review.
We compiled the ‘Best Of’ lists together from the scraps of paper handed to me by the various admins from the London Celtic Punks facebook page.
1. UNCLE BARD AND THE DIRTY BASTARDS- ‘Get The Folk Out!’ (here)
2. CREEDS CROSS- ‘Gods And Fighting Men (here)
3. ROVERS AHEAD- Always The Sinner, Never The Saint (here)
4. LES RAMONEURS DE MENHIRS- Tan Ar Bobl (here)
5. THE MAHONES- The Hunger And The Fight
6. BLOOD OR WHISKEY- Tell The Truth And Shame The Devil (here)
7. THE ROUGHNECK RIOT- Out Of Anger
8. BASTARD BEARDED IRISHMEN- Rise Of The Bastard (here)
9. JAY WARS- Carry Me Home (here)
10. THE RAMSHACKLE ARMY- Letters from the Road Less Travelled
11. 6’10- The Humble Beginnings Of A Rovin’ Soul (here)
12. LUGH- Quando Os Canecos Batem (here)
13. SIGELPA- TerraMorte (here)
14. KITCHEN IMPLOSION- Pretty Work Brave Boys! (here)
15. THE KILKENNY KNIGHTS- Bradys Pub Tales (here)
16. BEYOND THE FIELDS- The Falcon Lives (here)
17. THE YOUNG DUBLINERS- ‘Nine (here)
18. KELTIKON- Agenbite Of Inwit (here)
19. FM 359- Truth, Love And Liberty (here)
20. THE BLACK TARTAN CLAN – Scotland in Our Hearts
a special special mention for three absolutely brilliant compilation albums too. Can’t really include them in the Best of charts so heres all three in no particular order at all as they are all 11 out of 10!
a class album with 4 songs per band and an absolutely beautifully put together record. THE PORTERS/ THE JUDAS BUNCH/ THE MAHONES/ MALASANERS 4-WAY SPLIT DOUBLE ALBUM- ‘Welcome To The Folk Punk Show’ (2014)  here
a mostly Russian compilation paying tribute to all (lets just face it they are!) our favourite celtic-punk band- ‘Ex-USSR Tribute To The Dropkick Murphys’ (2014)  here
this ought to be the number one album of the year to be honest. a fecking amazing compilation of Indonesian celtic-punk bands.the quality is amazing throughout.absolutely stunning. I cannot recommend enough!! ‘Wind From The Foreign Land- Indonesian Celtic-Punk Compilation’ (2014)  here

TOP FIVE CELTIC PUNK EP’S OF 2015

No question which EP deserved this and Russia’s Middle Class Bastards just blasted us away with their follow up to their 2013 album. Superb use of bagpipes and brass instruments combined with fast but tuneful punk rock. A bit unfortunate for Black Water County who looked nailed on to win this for most of the year with their fantastic 2nd EP. The Breton band The Maggie Whackers released their EP back at the start of the year while The South Sea Ramblers from South Africa literally released theirs just a couple of weeks ago while LQR from Holland slipped theirs out in time for St Patricks Day… ooh err missus! So spread out across the year but these are the ones that left their mark. Looking forward to hearing more from them all and long players must be arriving soon I hope.
1. MIDDLE CLASS BASTARD- Rebel To The Core (here)
2. BLACK WATER COUNTY- Fellowship Of the Craic (here)
3. THE MAGGIE WHACKERS- Naoned Whisky (here)
4. LQR- A Touch Of Liquor (here)
5. SOUTH SHORE RAMBLERS- Bare Knuckle Blackout

TOP FIVE TRAD ALBUMS OF 2014

As the blog is for (mostly) celtic punk so it is that we only review stuff that isn’t celtic punk if we really really (really!!) like it. All these rocked our boat and we loved them all to bits. Hard to decide which order they should go in but this is how we ended up. Turned out to be an all Irish list with I DRAW SLOW from Dublin with beautiful alternative country sounds and both Cork’s THE BUACHAILLS and London’s THE CRAICHEADS going head to head with both bands playing similar styles of music while Irish-American supergroup THE ALT’s debut album was a worthy runner-up to fellow Irish-Americans RUNA’s brillliant fourth album.
1. RUNA- Current Affairs (here)
2. THE ALT- ‘The Alt (here)
3. THE CRAICHEADS- Brewed in London (here) 
3. THE BUACHAILLS- At Your Call (here)
5. I DRAW SLOW- ‘WhiteWave Chapel (here)

BEST CELTIC PUNK WEB-SITE OF 2014

Celtic Folk Punk And More Blogonce again there is no question who gets this
CELTIC FOLK PUNK AND MORE
 keeping the whole wide world up to date with what’s going on and who is doing who within celtic punk (and more!) while also supplying us with regular free downloads and free compilations. Waldo you’re great. Keep it up mate!

BEST GIGS

Apart from the ones we put on which were all amazing and showcased some amazing performances from JAY WARS and THE DEAD MAGGIES from Aus, THE GREENLAND WHALEFISHERS from Norway, a couple of benefit gigs for Mad Dog out The Popes (hope youre back on your guitar highkicking soon pal!), BLACK WATER COUNTY played their London debut and went down a fecking storm, me O’s mates STEVE WHITE AND THE PROTEST FAMILY were as superb as ever and released a fantastic album. One of the major highlights was discovering the quintessential London Celtic Punk in ANTO MORRA and we look forward to working with him again in the future. We teamed up with fellow Londoners of Urbankelt and will be doing so again too.

I also saw DAVID ROVICS for the first time, THE MEN THEY COULDN’T HANG’s amazing 30th anniversary show was incredible, NECK and their sadly ended residency at TChances which had us all pissed on Polish lager on Sunday afternoons for the first 6 months of the year, FLOGGING MOLLY in Reading in June which showed they havent lost a thing and are as great as ever, THE POGUE TRADERS were the best Pogues tribute band I ever seen. Disappointing was missing so many gigs where I just didnt have the cash especially The Pogues various outings. THE STANFIELDS from Canada seemed like a decent bunch of lads but their London gig was a total rip-off. The pre-gig ticket price was £7-50 which more than doubled to £15 on the door on the night. Oi bands watch out for charlaten promoters won’t you? Rebellion music fest brings loads of decent bands over to play but that means that they all end up playing in the same week so I had to forgo THE GO-SET’s return to London. Missed out on THE WOLFE TONES London gigs too due to work. All three of them! THE LAGAN have been brilliant. Far far too many of their gigs to go into detail so we have choosen the whole of St Patricks Weekend as our Number One! With NECK playing three gigs over the weekend and both THE BIBLE CODE SUNDAYS and THE LAGAN playing on the same day as well it seen a clean sweep of all the London bands done. Afterwards sick days were phoned in, headache pills were taken and the best St Patricks in donkeys was had.
Now were just looking forward to catching THE DROPKICK MURPHYS ‘Celtic Invasion ‘ Tour in Dublin and London this year round St Patricks Day.
Sláinte, The London Celtic Punks Crew- 2015
 London Celtic Punks
Of course all these things are very subjective so don’t be dismayed if your album ain’t here. What appeals to one don’t neccessarily appeal to another. It would be impossible to keep up with the multitude of celtic-punk related releases so these are the best of of what we actually did get to hear. All the various sites in the celtic-punk family had different winners so to see what they thought check out the Best Of lists of the following sites…
click on the blog logo at the top of the page to find more of this kind of stuff…

ALBUM REVIEW: KELTIKON- ‘Agenbite of Inwit’ (2014)

Celtic Boogie, Folk’n’Roll, Pipes-Punk
KELTIKON- 'Agenbite of Inwit' (2014)

Just recently we reviewed the debut album from Rovers Ahead , who are an  amazing celtic-punk band from Denmark (see here). Well the reason we bring that up here is their lead singer is from Dublin and Keltikon, despite hailing from Zurich in Switzerland, also have a celtic singer in Iain Duncan. That a 2nd generation Scot should wash up in Switzerland should come as no surprise as people from the celtic nations spread out in further directions than just the usual routes of the America’s or Australia/New Zealand and bring with them the knowledge and know-how and, lets face it, a extra bit of authenticity to celtic-punk bands out there in Europe.

Keltikon

Formed as late as March 2012 Keltikon have wasted no time in their short existence and their debut album hit the shelves in February of this year. The title of the album ‘Agenbite Of Inwit’ is an old-English phrase meaning ‘Again, a bite of inner wit’ or, put into modern terms, a crisis of conscience or remorse. Taking traditional Scottish and Irish jigs and reels, celtic songs and ballads Keltikon spice them up with their own recipe of punk and rock to come up with something relatively unique to these ears!

The album begins with the title track and with the bass thundering away it starts as any pop-punk record only for the bagpipes to kick in and once again i’m left marveling at the expert pipe playing involved. The band describe it as thus

“This is a song for anyone whose life has in some way been damaged by the decision of someone in ‘power’ that doesn’t give a jot for the consequences it causes us”

The song also has a jangly guitar feel to it reminding me of bands like The Wedding Present. They slow it right down for the following track with flute taking the lead on ‘Bonnie Ship The Diamond’, an old Scottish song popularized by Scots folk legends The Corries and more recently , the German celtic-punk band, Fiddlers Green. ‘Seven Ships’ comes next and has a real northern English folk feel to it. Traces of The Levellers too, at their best I hasten to add. ‘The Mariners Tale’ is a spoken word piece done in the style of old English TV programme Jackanory, telling the tale of a nuclear submarine called The Diving Dutchman. The story continues in the next track also called ‘The Diving Dutchman’ and steams along at a good old rate in the albums punkiest song. ‘Away To Fight’ is a beautifully slow acoustic ballad telling the tale of the WW2 invasion of Normandy beach in the words of a soldier about to disembark.

Keltikon

‘The Blackbird’ a traditional Irish reel whizzes past with the band not missing a beat and the pipes in truly outstanding form. That we have returned to feudal times is the theme of ‘Hold On Tight’ another slow acoustic ballad, the female backing vocals a nice touch. The fiddle is to the fore in ‘Each Others Dreams’ a rather poppy song that never really gets going in the way you’d expect it to leaving  the epic ‘Taliesin’ to close the album. At nearly ten minutes long its pretty risky but completely works as all the band members get a chance to show what they can do and none come up short. Taliesin was a renowned Welsh bard who is believed to have sung at the courts of at least three Brythonic kings and lived during the 6th century. It has a bit of a prog-rock feel to it and comes in waves getting louder and louder building up to a crescendo and despite its length does not outstay its welcome.

With ten tracks and clocking in at just under a hours worth of music it’s great value and even though the tracks are quite lengthy it never drags for a second. The various elements of celtic music are all represented so this album will appeal to anyone with even the slightest interest in celtic music.

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Buy The Album

here

 

ALBUM REVIEW: ROVERS AHEAD- ‘Always The Sinner, Never The Saint’ (2014)

stories of drinking, whoring, family tragedies and lost love

ROVERS AHEAD- ‘Always The Sinner, Never The saint’ (2014)

Rovers Ahead were formed in 2007 and are based in Copenhagen in Denmark. They are also the Dane’s only celtic-punk band to my knowledge. In common with Sir Reg and Flogging Molly they are a celtic-punk band led by an ex-pat in Nathan Corcoran from the working class streets of Dublin. They released their debut album ‘Always The Sinner, Never The Saint’ in February this year and it has already been called “one of the best albums of 2014, hands down” by Paddy Rock Radio.
Having previously released 2 3-track EP’s way back in 2009, ‘Subversive Sessions’, and 2010, ‘Candy Farm Session’, you may have been forgiven for thinking that was it but the band have been going from strength to strength back in their homeland playing regularly to crowds ranging from 50 to over 35,000 and supporting most of the worlds best punk bands who pass through Copenhagen! It seems rather than rushing into it they have taken the time to perfect their sings and it truly shows. 
ORovers Aheadn first listen you can hear all the famous bands of celtic-punk in there. The Pogues, Tossers, Murphys, Mollys, Sir Reg all the elements are there but Nathans voice and distinct Dub brogue really lift it into new territory. Sounding like a man whose suffered plenty of heartbreak and a 40 a day habit his husky and abrasive vocals speak of a life of hardship and the lyrics confirm this. Kicking of with ‘Dear Father’ the seven musicians accompanying Nathan play to perfection and gel perfectly to make something special. The songs lyrics are a ode to a father whose fucked things up and getting on and moving on with your life. ‘King Of Nothing’ is as depressing as it comes but you’ll still find yourself swaying about on the dance floor with yer arms wrapped round a complete stranger spilling your beer and shouting yourself hoarse!

One of the best things in celtic-punk at the moment and especially with European bands is that they are tending to concentrate more on their own songs rather than record celtic-punk standards and on this album you’ll find eleven self-penned numbers, one instrumental and ‘The Mouse On The Barroom Floor’, a spoken-word traditional poem from Dublin.
“Some Guinness was spilt on the barroom floor
When the pub was shut for the night
Out of his hole crept a wee brown mouse
And stood in the pale moonlight
He lapped up the frothy brew from the floor
Then back on his haunches he sat
And all the night you could hear him roar
“Bring on the goddamn cat!”
All adding up to a highly original and enjoyable romp despite the sometimes dark lyric matter. ‘One Night At The Pub’ is one of Rovers Ahead’s first original songs and has been through many different incarnations but i doubt they’ll ever be able to improve on this version. With electric guitar and drums clashing with Niel’s fiddle it sounds fresher than ever. Nathan takes a break from vocal duties for ‘Went Out to Get a Drink (And Ended Up In Jail)’ and Benjamin picks up the role with ease. ‘Rose Full Of Thorns’ kinda reminds you of Blood Or Whiskey what with that brogue and the banjo to the fore and is another song promoting 
“drinking all your sorrows away”
‘Make Me A Saint’ is one of the album’s slower songs but still kicks with a punk-rock beat followed swiftly by instrumental ‘Stingy Jacks Rumble’ which gives the band the chance to exhibit their fine skills. It’s over far too soon in a couple of minutes dead-on and I think it would make the perfect intro to their live set. ‘Day Of Defeat’ is about finding the strength to carry on in the face of adversity and like the rest of the album has a great fist in the air singalong chorus. ‘Town I Love So Well’ could be The Dubliners before the drums kick in and heads into the standout track from the LP. The lyrics about leaving Dublin and ending up in Copenhagen ends with a positive note before the final song about drinking on the dole and ‘Lend Me This Months Rent’ brings down the curtain on a a real celtic-punk gem. 
Rovers Ahead
The sound on ‘Always the Sinner, Never the Saint’ is absolutely perfect and when you realise it has been mixed and mastered by Göran Frid and Erik Dahlqvist, from Sir Reg, then you’ll know why. This album is guaranteed to be riding high in the various ‘Best Of’ charts come the end of the year and deserves to be heard by a much wider audience than them lucky Copenhagenists! As i always say about the best bands in the scene its the lyrics that lift the best albums out of the ordinary into the classic and while, sadly, the CD doesn’t come with a lyric booklet there is a link in the CD to download them and they do warrant reading. A fantastic fun loving alcohol fuelled album that jigs along as fast as feck that belies its 45 minute length and sometimes dark subject matter but sure aint that the story of modern Ireland?
Contact The Band
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