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ALBUM REVIEW: CELKILT- ‘Stand’ (2017)

” …Then the Great Alchemist gathered Water, Air, Earth and Fire around the Muse.
He gave them the High Voltage Energy of Rock and the cheerful power of the Irish Jigs, gave them fiddle, drums, guitar, bass, whistles and bagpipes, and then told them:
” You shall be embodied, you shall live, you shall play and you shall discover the great power of the Kilt.”
And it was so, and so was CelKilt born, serving a bouncy, joyful and energetic music.
The Alchemist contemplated the Greatness of his Work and thought “This kicks ass “, then he went to the pub for a good old pint of Guinness”

Celkilt are a bloody brilliant five piece celtic-punk band from Roanne, near to Lyon, which is almost splat bang in the middle of France and have been together for it would seem about seven years. I say it would seem as all their web site is in French so if you speak French then good for you. I have come across them before but to be honest hadn’t given them much of a chance. Various YouTube videos and the odd song but until their On The Table album that was it and even then it had to be squeezed in as part of our end of year review round up’s. Silly really as on listening to Stand I have really been missing out on something good.

Stand is Celkilt’s sixth release and their third studio album but they began their recording history with a self-titled mini-album back in 2011 and have had pretty much a record release per year ever since. They followed Celkilt with another mini-album called Hey What’s Under your Kilt? in 2012, then their debut full lengther, Everyday’s St Patrick’s Day in 2013 and it’s follow up, On The Table in 2014. A year off in 2015 and their last release was the ten track Kiltmas Songs of spoofed up celtic-punk versions of Christmas carols and Christmas themed originals. In common with all their releases it was served up in only twenty five minutes. Fast, frantic and furious Celkilt are the ultimate good time band but, and I am glad to say, here they have taken a slightly more relaxed approach and have put out a record that, amazingly for them, even has two songs that last over five minutes!

Celkilt left to right: Ana- Fiddle * Titou- Guitar/Vocals * Loic- Bagpipes/Whistles * Rems- Drums * Drik- Bass

Stand begins with ‘Sometimes I Care’ and is as good an album kick-off as I have heard in years. The sound of pipes blasts straight out the speakers at you. First impression is of the legendary AC/DC track ‘Thunderstruck’ but is followed up with a great tune with an absolutely wonderful arrangement. Superb! This is a loud album and designed to be played LOUD so kick up the sound and get right into it. ‘Kilt Up!’ follows with more great piping and some fast paced melodic punk packed with celtic fiddle and pipes.

One thing we reviewers don’t like to be short of in any review is good videos and Celkilt have tonnes of them. Be sure to subscribe to their You Tube channel and put a hour or two away to one side to check them out you won’t be disappointed. ‘I Don’t Have a Brain’ is another celtic-pop punk blast with Titou’s voice leading us through. He may be French but sounds almost perfect American and is completely clear. You can make out everything he is singing despite the punky background to it. As we said before Celkilt are not a band for hanging about. Usually they like to get through things super fast but it’s good they have decided to take their time even if it didn’t mean slowing down. ‘Fall in Place’ may be five minutes plus but  certainly never drags and brings in plenty of Celkilt’s famous Breton influences. Here they also sound like one of my all-time favourite bands Seven Nations and believe me that is only a compliment.

So just as you are all relaxed and settling in they then bring out ‘Lost and Found’ and they step completely away from what we are expecting. A slow rock ballad number with a small fiddle part until the end when it begins to sound more like the Celkilt we know. Fear not though as we are back in classic celtic territory next with the amazing instrumental ‘Gavotte Party / Whipping Reel / Motherjigger’. Three tunes combined that show simply what top musicians they are. While I was expecting them to keep it trad’ they couldn’t help themselves and its more of the fast, frantic and furious style that they are famous for. Completely respectful of the tune but updated for the modern era. If anyone ever thought folk music was boring then play them this bugger and they will soon change their minds! A real change of pace next with the acapello sea shanty ‘All the Way’. All the band share vocals and the gang chorus makes this a good choice of song despite its brevity. My album highlight is up next and ‘I Gotta Run’ has it all. Fast, tuneful, celtic-punk that is so catchy you’ll be humming it for days I warns you. My only complaint is it’s too bloody short!!

The album’s second and last instrumental is up next and ‘Hornjig’ is done trad style this time. Nothing added, just the music of our forefathers. The song leads into ‘Superpower’ and has a much more traditional Irish punk sound to my ears. We back in Cali next and some more of their trademark celtic-pop-punk sound with ‘Better’. Catchy as hell and a real foot stomper. It may not sound exactly like a celtic version Of Green Day or NOFX but Celkilt have this sound absolutely nailed. We are coming up to the final bend and ‘The Last Day of My Life’ returns the LP to a more traditional folky sound. Stepping away from their usual style it still doesn’t sound out of place at all. Another great song.

The album ends with the outstanding ‘Stand’. Plenty of gang vocal “Woo Hooo Hooo’s” bring to mind the best tracks of the new Murphys album but once again Celkilt know exactly when to step it up and take their songs to another level. The fantastic production here manages to capture perfectly the various musicians at their best and though it is certainly well polished it is never overdone at all.

So there you go and I have to say on listening to Stand I’ve had to promote Celkilt up to the Premier League of top celtic-punk bands. As one of only a handful of European bands to tour the United States they surely deserve that place at the top table and this stunning album easily gives the likes of the Murphys, Mollys, Flatfoot, Tossers, Mahones, MacKenzies a run for their money. This album has it all. Both the folk and the punk sides of Celkilts music are good enough to keep either sides purists happy and the combination of the two will I am sure be converting many of them to celtic-punk. An absolute stunner of an album that I cannot recommend enough. Don’t be a fool like me and let this band pass you by for a moment longer.

Buy Stand

FromTheBand (available on CD, Download and Double Album)  iTunes  Amazon  GooglePlay

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  • you can check out Celtic Folk Punk And More’s review of Stand here which also links you to reviews of all Celkilt’s previous releases.
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ALBUM REVIEW: SEVEN NATIONS- ‘Tales From the Eighth Nation’ (2014)

you’d be hard pressed to find a more original, unique but accessible group. powerful self-penned tunes and transcendent live shows.
Seven Nations’ day has come
SEVEN NATIONS- 'Tales From The Eigth Nation' (2014)

With over a dozen albums behind them Seven nations are one of the most successful and popular independent celtic-rock bands in the USA today. Formed originally in New York city back in 1993 with the name Clann Na Gael but later that year the process began by adding bagpipes to the sound and so began the evolution to the band as we know it today. 

Seven Nations

As a kid lead singer and founder Kirk McLeod was sent away to Scottish music camp to learn how to play traditional bagpipes. Eventually he assembled a group from friends in his hometown Orlando in Florida.
“We soon introduced bagpipes into the show, and over time the number of songs utilizing bagpipes grew until it became obvious that they were integral to our emerging sound, most of the band members grew up playing celtic music, and we’ve been performing original compositions since we began. Our instrumentation, and bagpipes and fiddle mostly, give us a distinctive sound and that’s what makes us different”
Touring pretty much non-stop during the last decade they’ve clocked up nearly a million miles and gigs all over North America and Europe. Not bad for a band who have stuck defiantly to their independent roots and even go as far as to book their own tours. Totally admirable. Yeah but are they any good I hear you say… well I may be biased but I think they are fecking marvelous!!! 
‘Tales From The Eighth Nation’ relates to America as being the Eighth celtic nation after Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Brittany, Cornwall, the Isle Of Man and Galicia. For a band with such an amazing back catalogue it never ceases to surprise me that they can come up with such quality songs album after album. On ‘Tales…’ you get sixteen songs and a hours worth of the best celtic-rock band coming out of North America.
Seven Nations
Having been on the verge of a major breakthrough several times in their career and with quality music such as this its only a matter of time before something very major happens for Seven Nations and this album will hopefully provide it. Two songs of instrumentals ‘Pipe Set’ and ‘Fiddle Set’ are simply amazing and as the backbone for Kirk McLeod’ very distinctive soaring vocal style Seven Nations are at their best when taking traditional tunes and stamping them with their own seal. Hard to compare to any current scene bands they truly are out their on their own. ‘Tales…’ starts with ‘Happy That You’re Here’ one of the standout tracks and with the pipes and fiddle flying its typical 7N and when they slow it right down for the next song ‘In Different Company’ its still typical 7N! From there on Seven Nations plough much the same furrow for the rest of the LP but do it with great vocals and with a group of musicians at the top of their game. A couple of the standout track’s are ‘Go Daddy’ and ‘Nostradamus’, all the elements come together perfectly. Barely known outside of North America it’s time you lot got to know Seven Nations it will be well worth the wait.

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