Christmas Day is almost upon us and a recent development in the Celtic-Punk world has been bands doing Christmas songs. Every year we see more and some from quite unusual sources. Of course it being Celtic-Punk most have more in common with the darker side and ‘Fairytale Of New York’ than with ‘Rocking Around The Christmas Tree’. No harm in that after all we should all spare a thought for others at this time of year and go out of our way to help those less fortunate than ourselves. Enjoy this varied collection of Christmas songs and see you at a gig sometime soon!
FINNEGAN’S HELL – ‘Christmas Day’
the season’s upon us as Scandinavian big-hitters Finnegan’s Hell were first out the traps to celebrate a Celtic-Punk Christmas. Their new song ‘Happy Christmas’ shines a light on the dark side of Christmas and is aimed at broadening the general perception of the holiday, which, to some people, is nothing but a nightmare. Not us though, we love it… but some people.
YE BANISHED PRIVATEERS – Carol Of Bellows
Another bunch of Scandinavians go mad this year and Ye Banished Privateers have released a whole album of if not exactly Christmas fun then at least Christmas songs. This song is the lead single from A Pirate Stole Our Christmas and is a take on the traditional ‘Carol Of The Bells’. A mix of choral’s, bawdy Swedish trad folk tunes and a Ukrainian nursery rhyme, they tell of Bellows triumphant return from the grave. Theatrical Pirate-Folk-Punk and second to none at the genre!
MISSING THE FERRY – Home For Christmas
Luton 2nd generation Irish band have had a busy year with several new releases hopefully building up to a full length album. It’s a bitter sweet song, hoping that the lost and displaced, the grieving, the addicted, the sick in mind or body will again see home this Christmas….if only in their dreams and imagination. The track is free on Bandcamp but the Bhoys ask that you make a donation to a mental health charity.
SONS OF CLOGGER – In Time For Christmas
After 10 years and nearly 400 gigs English Folk-Rockers Sons Of Clogger have finally got round to doing a Christmas single. With new members all bedded in it’s probably the most ‘traditional’ song here and wouldn’t be out of place on any Christmas compilation.
The Brits like to think that the German race have no sense of humour but German band Hellraisers And Beerdrinkers certainly look like they are having a great time filming the video for their seasonal track. Named after a song by Motorhead they call what they play ‘Gaudi Folk’, Celtic-Punk that is more Folk related but with serious Punk Rock attitude.
MICK THE BUSKER – Fairytale Of New York
Mick McLoughlin (aka ‘Mick The Busker’) has been a familiar face busking on Henry Street now for over a decade. He’s been through the hard times ant the other side and while every year their are umpteen recordings of FONY we loved Mick’s version. Many take the cowards way out and unnecessarily censor the song but not here.
We take Christmas very seriously at London Celtic Punks and so begins the countdown to the second best day of the year! Expect much Christmas themed Celtic-Punk in the coming weeks but in the meantime here’s this months biggest yet round-up of all the band news, record releases and videos from bands big and small from across the Celtic-Punk scene.
6’10 the utterly brilliant offshoot from Flatfoot 56 just put out a new video to accompany ‘The Road’ taken from their awesome last album, Carried In Retrospect.
We missed the release of the new SHANGHAI TREASON single but needless to say it is again fantastic fast and punky Celtic-Punk and quite unlike anyone else knocking about. The album draws ever nearer and we cannot bloody wait to her it! Catch’em on tour in the UK with The Rumjacks soon.
It is probably easier to stop a train going at full speed than to convince the former members of the Black Tartan Clan to put an end to their musical adventure. After a small pose due to a change of line up at the end of 2017, the black kilt wearers have reformed ranks and changed their name, becoming BLACK TARTANS. The new group has a solid experience of live and studio work and continues to bring an energetic mix between trad Celtic instruments (bagpipes and banjo) and Punk-Rock. Here’s some footage of them playing live from their Facebook page. They’ve also started a You Tube channelso give that a follow if you can. Lots of new footage promised.
A little late for Halloween or especially early for next years? PADDY FINNEGAN’S GREEN MACHINE is no other than London Celtic Punks columnist Raymond and he put out a five track EP of scary covers and originals just in time to go trick or treating!
Another Halloween release we missed (except this was from last year!!) was When The Tombstones Speak a 4-track EP from Chicago band WORK THE COUNT. A collaborative music project that draws inspiration from American and Celtic Folk, Punk and Pop. Available as a ‘name your price’ download.
THE RUMJACKS released a new video last month for the lead single off an upcoming new release. A eight track EP titled Brass for Gold is due out 11th February 2022 and is available for pre-order.
BLACK MATILDA are a new Celtic-Punk band from Lunenburg, Nova Scotia in Canada and just put out their debut song, ‘I Must sail Away’, on You Tube accompanied by a fantastic stop motion animation video. You can find the band on their Instagram page.
THE CUNDEEZ new single ‘The Stornoway Stomp’ is out now on major download sites along with the bands brilliant Scottish football anthem ‘Kilts On Taps Aff’. Both tracks are taken from the forthcoming album ‘Geeez It’ and the song tells the tale of a trip to the Isle o Lewis.
Acclaimed Pirate band and pure theatrical spectacle YE BANISHED PRIVATEERS announced the release of a Christmas themed album next month and I am really hoping we get a copy! A Pirate Stole My Christmas comes out on December 3rd and is on preorder here: https://smarturl.it/APirateStoleMyXmas
London Gaelic Athletic Association launched a commemorative 125th anniversary booklet, which lays out the history of the county’s past century and a quarter. You can read it here.
Speaking of Instagram (Remember it is owned by Facebook so none of your photos are safe!) THE TENBAGS from Birmingham have just discovered it and have been posting some great content on their page. Well worth looking up.
I’m not much of a whiskey man I’d be the first to admit. My father-in-law always gets the Bells out for me and my brother just shakes his head disappointedly when I put Cola in but here’s a good wee video from a couple of Aussies reviewing THE POGUESIrish whiskey.
HAWTHORN are from Tucson, Arizona and just released their second album, All The Light We Cannot See. An aggressive mix of raw energy and fast punk rooted in traditional Celtic music.
SONS OF CLOGGER are a well known fixture on the English Folk-Punk and festival scene with a good few releases behind them. On finding a bass player they are now casting their net out for a rhythm guitarist and keyboard player so if you live anywhere near Staffs. give them a shout on their Facebook page. ‘Siabost Beach’ is taken from their last album The Neolithic as filmed in the Outer Hebrides/ Western Isles.
Irish born Barcelona based tongue-in-cheek singer-songwriter CAL MURPHY released The Partin’ Rocky Rattlin’ Lass 4-track EP earlier in the year but we only just got round to hearing it. All cover versions the EP covers modern day Irish music pretty damn well from the Celtic-Punk of ‘Will Ye Go, Lassie, Go’ to it’s polar opposite ‘The Parting Glass’ stripped down to just vocals and acoustic guitar.
THE OUTCAST CREW – Myths And Yarns (review coming)
WHISKEY OF THE DAMNED – We Made Bail
BRIAN FALLON – Night Devine
THE GROGGY DAYS – Grog ‘o’ Clock
HAWTHORN – All The Light We Cannot See
remember we can’t review it if we don’t hear it
A wee plug for London Irish Rugby Club. After years in the wilderness out in Reading and some would say a watering down of the club’s Irish ethos they arrived back in London at the tail end of last season and a joy to behold it was too, except for the last minute defeat after being miles ahead at half time!! The club is back in the heart of the Irish community so check out the clubsmerchandiseand show your roots and get some mates together and get down there. Eight train and tube stations within a 20 minute walk and no shortage of decent pubs too means their is literally no excuse. Games against Newcastle Falcons December 4th, CA Brive in the EPCR Cup December 19th and the first home fixture of the New Year against Bath on Monday January 3rd.
This section is for Celtic-Punk bands that have (on the large) left us but their music is still deserving to be heard and heard for free courtesy of a free download. Well here’s a band that are still together and playing. FALPERRYS are one of them actual Celtic-Punk bands from an actual Celtic country (I use to call that Keltic Celtic-Punk) in Galicia. Do Amor e das Mentiras was their debut album from 2011 and is available as a ‘Name Your Price’ download as is their more recent album Nova Abordagem.
Everyone is wetting themselves that THE DROPOUTS are fronted by former Booze & Glory singer and guitarist Liam well we remember his glory days when he nonchalantly would play the banjo for London Irish Ceilidh rockers Neck whilst dreaming of the day he could be in a Oi! band! A top geezer he moved off to Sydney a couple of years back and hasn’t looked back since. This self-titled release is the bands debut and though only seven tracks it’s all great stuff and perfect melodic and hard hitting Punk Rock.
The more I see of Facebook the more and more I dislike it. It has a stranglehold on all forms of expression and this isn’t good. Anything that breaks their monopoly is a great thing (except Twitter equally as shit!) so if you feel the same you can now subscribe to London Celtic Punks posts via our group on the new phone app Telegram. Very similar in style (but better and easier to use) than What’s App but the best thing is that it is completely free from Facebook control. Join us on Telegram, don’t miss a single post and even receive the odd exclusive and special offer!https://t.me/londoncelticpunks/
We’re not beyond a wee bit of crass commercialism so just to let you know that London Celtic Punks merchandise would make great Christmas presents! We still have a handful of Green’n’White ‘Skully Cap’ ringer t-shirts available in all sizes from Small right up to XXX-L from our online store. Also available are 2 other shirt designs so click the link below for our full range of all our other tatt. Shirts, badges, stickers, flags, CD’s and fridge magnets all the discerning Celtic-Punk fan could ever need! https://the30492shop.fwscart.com/
On the live front here in London town we have the return of London Irish Pyscho-Ceildh rockers NECK to the New Cross Inn on December 10th with support form the awesome CROCK OF CELTS. The following day sees THE MEN THEY COULDN’T HANG at the Subterania in Ladbroke Grove and then a choice of the London Folk legend SEAMUS MOORE at the Sporting Green in Enfield EN3 5JF or THE FIREPIT COLLECTIVE Irish-Folk offshoot from the Inner Terrestrials at the New Cross Inn sees us into Christmas on Sunday 19th. There was also talk of a secret POGUES TRADERS afternoon show somewhere in Central London. Keep an eye out for that. Lots of gigs being announced check the LCP FB events page but the new year will see the return of our dedicated London ‘What’s On’ page.
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NO ODDS’N’SODS NEXT MONTH BUT IT WILL RETURN FOR FEBRUARY
This time of year is normally pretty quiet in the Celtic-Punk world as bands concentrate on the upcoming Festival season but we still hunted down all the band news, record releases, videos from bands big and small across the Celtic-Punk scene.
We start off this month with the new single/ video from FEROCIOUS DOG. ‘Pentrich Rising’ is right up the Dog’s street. A tale of England’s fight for trade union rights in the 1800’s. A brilliant professional looking video it deserves to be splashed all over the TV. The new album The Hope is out in October and is available for pre-order here https://thehope.ferociousdog.co.uk/
20,000 views in just three days shows why FIDDLER’S GREEN are one of the most popular Celtic-Punk bands around. They are also one of the busiest and even the Covid lockdown didn’t slow them down too much!
“One and half years of forced isolation later and we’re back in the studio working on the new album. The numbers are down and falling every day. The tour calender is filling up again. Back in the studio someone goes: „Na, da ist doch Land in Sicht. (See! Land in sight!)” That’s it—the moment grabs us by the balls! That same evening we start fleshing out ideas for a song. Inspired by the moment, the lyrics start to flow. In German. For the first time ever. A glimmer of hope for us all, born of the moment—Land Ahoy, lads! Enjoy!”
All round talented musician and nice guy KANE O’ROURKE has a new single ‘Farewell To Erin’ out now on Celtic Bulldog Records. The track is taken from Kane’s forthcoming album Dance In The Fourth and the video was filmed in New York, London, Hill of Ward, Rathmore Abbey and Trim Castle.
Time to get your wallets out for French band THE MOORINGS. They have just launched a Ulele campaign for their new record called ‘March On ?’. It will be coming out in digital, CD vinyl. The promotion/pre-order campaign can be contacted here.
At one point the Celtic-Punk scene in Hungary was to be admired the world over. Loads of bands and it seemed there was a new release every couple of weeks (we even ran a feature called Hungarian Celtic-Punk week!!). Well with the lockdown over there the bands are returning. FIRKIN got a new singer and single out and now THE CRAZY ROGUES have released the first track, a semi live version of ‘Empire Of sand’, from their forthcoming new album expected later this year.
One of many great bands out there in the Celtic-Punk scene that deserve a wider audience is the Russian band ZUNAME. I’ve followed them since the early days and always really enjoyed their music so delighted to hear they are half way through the recording of a new album. Punk-Rock with bagpipes from Moscow ‘Señor Diego’ was their last release and is available for just a dollar!
Boston band MICKEY RICKSHAW have a new song out, their first since their last album I think. ‘Athens To The North’ is available on all streaming sites.
South America may not be blessed with many Celtic-Punkk bands but the ones they do are utterly brilliant. Here’s the single from a forthcoming EP from LA FIESTA DEL DIABLO called ‘A Flote’ all the way from Chile. Dedicated to all the people who have lost family members and have suffered as a result of the pandemic and have had to be separated from their loved ones. This link from linktreetakes you to all their social media to find out more and download the song.
THE RUMPLED – The Perfect Match
THE BLACK CLOVER –
PUNKREAS – Funny Goes Acoustic
LES NAUFRAGES – Les Naufrages
remember we can’t review what we haven’t heard!
West Midlands based SONS OF CLOGGER would normally around this time preparing to spend every weekend for the next five months playing festivals up and down the country. I’m sure they’ve a few in the bag but they have also just released a new album The Neolithic, available from their web-site.
RAMBLERS PARADE formed in Lisbon in late 2020, mixing Folk music from around the world with the energy and spirit of Punk-Rock, adapting traditions with Balkan, Latin American and European Folk. They have a new 5-track EP out available via Bandcamp.
Load of free Punk-Rock courtesy of Canadian one mand band WilkSHAKE. Brendan Wilkie plays all the instruments here and is also a accomplished writer and poet in true Irish ‘seanchai’ style! The music touches on several themes of interest to Celtic-Punks so give it a look.
Pirate speedfolk band LILY OF THE VALLEY from Berlin have a new song out this week. They play fast and evil music with lots of songs about whaling and trouserlessness. Anyone refusing to dance at their gigs is made to walk the plank!
LES NAUFRAGES are not a band I know much about but they play a very interesting mix of Rock, Punk, Ska and trad. Folk. Formed in 1986 in Montpellier, France they have released over a dozen albums and have just started to re-release each one re-mastered and re-packaged.
This month we re-visit a free download from six years ago from New York’s THE NARROWBACKS. A official bootleg of five songs from their show playing at the legendary Stone Pony in Asbury Park, New Jersey supporting Flogging Molly. The Narrowbacks have over the years become an integral part of the new York Irish community and continue to go from strength to strength.
A sort of ‘folkier’ offshoot from French Celtic-Punk band THE BOOZE BROTHERS the debut EP from TARA’S FOLK has just come out.
Some London Celtic Punks news now and we still have a handful of Green’n’White ‘Skully Cap’ ringer t-shirts available. They come in all sizes from Small right up to XXX-L and are available from our online store. Also check out our full range of other tatt. Shirts, badges, stickers, flags, CD’s and fridge magnets all the diserning Celtic-Punk fan needs!
The more I see of Facebook the more and more I am disliking it. If you feel the same you can now subscribe to London Celtic Punks posts via our group on the new phone app Telegram. Very similar in style (but better and easier to use) than What’s App and completely free from Facebook control. Join us on Telegram and don’t miss a single post!https://t.me/londoncelticpunks/
If you are new to the London Celtic Punks blog it is easy to subscribe / follow and never miss a post. We post a couple of times a weeks so we won’t fill up your in-box. Bands, promoters, record labels, venues send in any news to email@example.com or via the Contact Us page.
Well here we go again. It only seems like five minutes since I was compiling all the votes into last years Best Of that saw The Rumjacks romping home with Album Of The Year. This year has been a bit quieter on the Celtic-Punk front but as last year was so busy that is perhaps not surprising. That’s not to say their weren’t some fantastic releases as their were plenty and it was still really difficult to come up with the various lists below. Not so many big bands this year so it was left to the lesser known bands to shine but remember this is only our opinion and these releases are only the tip of the iceberg of what came out last year. Feel free to comment, slag off or dissect our lists. As a bonus we are adding the Readers Poll again this year so you can even vote on your favourite release of 2019 yourself. If it’s not listed then simply add your choice.
We don’t pretend to be the final word as that my friends is for you…
(click on the green link to go where you will find more information on the release)
How to compete with last year? Every single top band in the genre released an album so things were always going to be a bit quieter for 2019. Top spot this year unsurprisingly goes to The Walker Roaders Celtic-Punk super group! With Pogues, Mollys and Dropkicks making up the team how could they possibly go wrong! Everyone’s ‘next big thing’ Mickey Rickshaw came in a well deserved second and Ferocious Dog took third after releasing their best album, for me, since From Without. Greenland Whalefishers celebrated 25 years on the road with their best album for quite a while and what Best Of would be right without some bloody brilliant Irish-American bands challenging at the top too. Pipes And Pints new album with a new singer received acclaim from across the Punk media and The Rumjacks couldn’t follow up last years unanimous victory despite having two album releases (both sort of live) in the top thirteen. Fiddlers Green continue to make consistently great albums and go into 2020 celebrating thirty years together! Good to see homegrown bands The Whipjacks, The Tenbags, The Filthy Spectacula and Sons Of Clogger making it too. The top thirty was made up of thirteen countries from USA, England, Norway, Czech Republic, Australia, Switzerland, Germany, Argentina, Japan, Quebec, Hungary, Spain and Japan.
The Lucky Trolls took #1 spot with their brilliant self-titled EP following on from fellow countrymen the Krakin’ Kellys multi award winning 2018. Trust me it would have taken an exceptionally good release to keep The Party by Drunken Dolly off the top spot but that is what happened. Dolly’s excursions over to these shores this year j=has seen them grown in stature and you can’t go to a Ferocious Dog gig without spotting at least a dozen of their shirts. Loretta Problem wowed us with their single ‘Waltz Of My Drunken Dream’ which took us right back back to The Pogues glory days and what about that accompanying videotoo!! If we had a award for best video then that would have walked it. The Kellys had a quiet year with comparison to ’18 but still managed a respectable #5 and great debut releases from The Placks our sole representative from a Celtic nation (big things are going to happen to this band in 2020 mark my words), Italian/Aussies The Cloverhearts and, from just down the road from my Mammy, Shanghai Treason from Sheffield who only put out one song… but what a song! Eight countries represented from Belgium, Netherlands, Finland, Italy, Scotland, Argentina, Australia and Yorkshire!
Argentina is becoming a bit of a hot-spot for Celtic-Punk with not only some well established bands but also some new ones starting up too and with this release Aires Bastardos announced their arrival on the international scene too. Not afraid to dive straight into a folk number after a Cock Sparrer cover they veer from standard Celtic-Punk to Folk and back to fast as hell Punk but in that really accessible way that only Celtic-Punk (and maybe Ska-Punk) bands can do.
The Dreadnoughts don’t really think of themselves as Celtic-Punk so I reckon they’d be happier to win this than Celtic-Punk Album Of The Year. A superb collection of sea shanties that is a pleasure to listen to that was always going to be #1. Crock Of Bones representing the London Irish in 2nd with an album of trad folk with punk rock attitude and it’s especially good to hear some originals done in the style of the ‘auld ways’. 6’10 challenged for the top spot as they always do with everything they release and Bryan MacPherson and Callum Houston both produced great releases of singer-songwriter acoustic folk with Irish roots.
Sadly the Celtic-Punk world has shrunk a little regarding Web-Sites. Winners of the last two years the Mersey Celt Punks have been slacking (sort it out lads!) and enjoying their gigs too much to tell us while Shite’n’Onions have been too busy transferring everything onto a different platform and preparing for a bit of a re-launch I expect. Sadly celtic-rock.de have shut up shop after twelve years so it just makes it all the more clear how much we all miss Waldo and his fantastic Celtic-Folk-Punk And More site. As regular as clockwork and all the news that was ever fit (or not!) to print. Closing down the site in its 10th year in March must have been a tough decision to make and so this year we award best Website to Waldo and let it be known that no Celtic-Punk site will ever come close to replacing you. We would certainly not exist without his kind help and inspiration. All the best comrade enjoy your retirement! One welcome addition is Michu and his Celtic-Punk Encyclopediasite from Poland. Worth checking out especially if you are in a band.
We are not alone in doing these Best Of 2019 lists in fact all the major players in celtic-punk do them so click below to check out what they thought.
So there you go. Remember we don’t pretend to be the final word on things in fact if you check the other Celtic-Punk media I’m sure we’ve all come up with relatively different lists. Our Best Of’s are cajoled and bullied out of the admins from the London Celtic Punks Facebook page. The assorted scraps of paper and beer mats were then tallied up please remember not all of us heard the same albums so like all the various Best Of’s ours is also subjective.
This is our 8th year of making these Best Of lists so if you would like to check out out who was where in our previous ones then just click on the link below the relevant year.
Last year we introduced a new feature THE READERS PICK. We had no idea if it would work or not but it was a raging success so we going to do it all again this year. With well over 500 votes cast you lot chose the debut album from the Krakin’ Kellys as a worthy winner. Only the Top Ten albums are listed but there is an option to write in your favourite release or just to send us love… or abuse!
You are allowed to vote twice but not for the same artist.
The Poll will close at midnight on Friday 31st January with the result announced soon after.
remember any views, comments or abuse or slander we would love to hear it…
Sláinte, The London Celtic Punks Crew- January, 2020
West Midlands based Sons Of Clogger are an alternative four piece band with a huge sound fusing Punk, Indie, Rock, Metal and Folk. Their full blooded invigorating music has been captivating crowds and listeners in many countries and as our man in the States T.C. Costello finds with the release of Return To The Stones their second full length album they are set to continue doing so…
About a year ago, I found myself at the Ragged Bear Festival in Warwickshire. This two-stage festival seemed tailor-made for anyone who’s ever been to a London Celtic Punks show, tailor made to anyone who loves a sea chantey as much as a moshpit, and indeed tailor made me. The Whipjacks’ played of some the speediest Celtic-Punk I’ve ever heard downstairs, and Greenman Rising, who organized the festival, brought their hardcore folk tradition to modern audiences on both stages.
Another highlight of the festival was Sons of Clogger. This Staffordshire foursome’s sweaty basement show felt like a folk session from long ago but unstuck in time, with traditional melodies and story teller lyrics over an rhythm section straight out of the ‘80s punk scene in London. Adding mandola, low-D tin whistle and a 12-string acoustic guitar created a sound evocative of pre-Christian Britain, a bit of ‘80s Camden Town, and an Irish Session.
Needless to say, it came as a massive surprise to me that the band’s first full-length album starts with a distorted guitar riff. And this album, indeed, is full of surprises – so much so that this review may warrant a spoiler alert. With ‘Return To The Stones’, the band continues to blur the lines between the ancient and modern, the Folk and the Punk, and even more genres.
After the unexpected electric guitar on the opening title track, the full band comes in with 4/4 rock groove a bit reminiscent of The Clash. I was wondering where the folk aspect of the band had gone. But as soon as DaveO’s vocals kicked in, I had my answer.
“We’re heading for the Northern Lights
From town to town with you right by my side
Oh Yeah, Bring me that girl today”
He croons with the command of a storyteller and the fury of punk, narrating a tale of the Callanish Stone Circle in the Outer Hebrides during Pagan times. The Narrator is a mother who had visited the stones 10 years previous to ask for a daughter. She is travelling to the stone circle again to thank the stones, this time with her daughter, now of course ten-years-old.
More definitive folk elements sneak into this song, too, but I don’t want to spoil the surprise.
The second song of the Album, ‘London Town’, also takes you back in history, though not nearly as far, and tells of decadent underground cults amongst the gentry in London. The band writes, “Over the last 300 years, underground gentry have worshipped various cults: Some celebrating homosexuality, some devil worship, and some even to this day celebrating the death of King Charles I!”
Was shattered and prosaic
It earned its reputation
Was full of old posh rakes
With lavish cars and fat cigars
Certain gentry found
I’ll meet you at the serenade
Down in London Town.”
Once again, this song is driven by electric guitar and the Band’s tight rhythm section, but adds folky vocals and even a bit of mandolin over the main guitar riff.
Next comes ‘Harrignton And Boots’, a punky number a bit reminiscent of The Cockney Rejects, and tells of punks who have gone to serve in the military.
“My Brothers they said to me,
What happens if we die?
Better think about the last words that we’ll say.”
And the last words are the chorus:
“Bury me with me Harrington and Boots.” It’s “The Harrington Jacket and Doc Marten Boots worn by punks past and present,” The band writes, “It’s a soldier’s last wish to be buried in his true identity, not as a soldier, but the true honor of a lifelong punk.”
With the fourth Track ‘Ragged Bear’, the band’s folkiness is unambiguous. Starting with a vocals-and-mandola intro, the full band doesn’t come in until a minute in, and when it does, there’s a big, tin whistle lead with the bands ‘80s punk rhythm section still going strong.
The karmic tale starts with an abused bear, left in a horrible state, only to be healed by the devil, who sent the bear to take revenge on the humans who mistreated him so, and I challenge any listener not to shout “The Bear! The Bear!” along with the chorus. The Into of ‘Running Out The Guns’, blurs the line of ancient and modern a bit more, with an intro powered by a heavily echoed guitar and tin whistle, which gives into a big, tin whistle breakdown a bit reminiscent of Flogging Molly. The hard rocking, seafaring tune covers the tradition of the plight of sailors’ lives:
“We’ll bring ye Hell on the seas’ great swell
We are the devil’s sons.
While ye lye and the breast of thy own sweet maid
We’ll be running out the guns.”
Next comes a trio of love songs. ‘On The Road’ is a guitar effects-heaving ode to long-distance love with a big chorus, and ‘Traveling Fair’ has a haunting, droney arrangement and tells of a collier’s son running away to be with a green-eyed Romani Gypsy girl, which ends with an jig that’s somehow reminiscent of The Clash.
Finishing the trio is ‘Punk Rock Girlfriend’, a hard rocking number that makes me think “hey, i know her!” every time I hear it.
She’ll shave her hair, give you the stare
She’s hanging with the punks
When you see here dancing, she’s dancing near the front
Piercings of silver rings and green and purple hair
She’s my punk rock girlfriend!”
Having met her at a couple festivals, these lyrics as far as I can tell are 100% accurate.
Closing out the album are ‘Beautiful Dream’ and ‘Goodbye’.
‘Beautiful Dream’ is an anti-war song with a nice jangly electric guitar-and-mandola wall of sound. The lyrics seems hopeful but also self-consciously naive with the chorus,
“No more war, Just love / Is a beautiful dream”
‘Goodbye’, the album’s closing number starts with a cinematic-sounding intro, powered by floor toms, spacey keyboards and sparse piano work. It builds to a hopeful song about moving on on life:
“I’m holding on, to something that’s killing me
To something that’s thrilling me
I’m changing things, you were my everything
Ain’t nothing can be the same
‘Cause I’m leaving tonight.”
The band writes “It’s a goodbye to a love that’s lost; it’s a goodbye as in lost life; it’s a goodbye as in leaving drug or alcohol addiction.” A fitting hopeful ending to the album.
‘Return To The Stones’, is an unpredictable journey, full of alluring settings, powerful stories and a colourful cast of characters. If you want folk and punk fused in a way that would even surprise the most loyal readers of London Celtic Punks, look no further.