The Lagan – Where’s Your Messiah Now?

The Lagan coverThe Lagan, a hard rocking six piece Celtic Punk band from London are releasing their debut album Where’s Your Messiah Now on St Patty’s day and I was lucky to get a preview release. I have to say that in listening to it, I had to keep checking that this was their freshman release. The album showcases their craft of music and vocals plus the amount of original songs has made for brilliant album that is fun to listen and get lift your musical spirit. The album contains 10 tracks, six of which are original, three standards and one hybrid.

“Staring The Devil In The Eye” starts out the album with grand fanfare with the drums leading it in followed by tin whistles before ramping up and really rocking. The song is one of several nautical in nature that speaks to the old wind sailor in me. Catchy lyrics and taking the themes from traditions and creating a new story paired with the rocking music make for a fun song. “Sailin’ East” is another nautical themed (yeah I know smart asses, the title makes that clear) that segues nicely yet remains it own song and not as a copy of “Staring The Devil In The Eye”. The third track, “Work Away” is my favorite track on the album. The melody and chorus are heartbreaking yet uplifting – a song for the fighter in all of us. Even pounding away, there is always the hope for relief without giving up. “Star of The County Down” is well done, the intro being my favorite part. “Guinness ‘n’ Chips” is my second favorite track, the mix of whistle and fiddle and pace for a fun song, that oddly in all my listening to, I did not hear any reference to Guinness. Every time this song has come in, I would stop doing whatever it was doing and start to get into the song – don’t plan on getting any work done during this song! “Sunny Day In Southie” is a fun song, though given my lifestyle choice of sobriety, does not speak to me as it would have previously, but I’m sure a lot of people will take this up for their drinking anthem. “I’ll Tell Me Ma” is a nice rendition of a classic tune that has been gruffed up in parts for them to the song their own. “The Good Ship Lagan” is the hybrid, it has the music from “Drunken Sailor” to original lyrics. A fun song and one that was enjoyable listening to their tailoring of the song. “Same Shite Different Day” rounds out my top three songs. Gruff vocals, hard lyrics that has the nautical tone of their other songs. Finishing up the album is “The Fields of Anthenry”, the song that it seems every Celtic band has to have in their playlist for someone in the audience. The song is well crafted, capturing the sorrow of the song very well.

The Lagan enter what will be a crowded field of top albums for the year and will easily be a contender for top slots come December and January. Their original songs are fun and well crafted and given this is their debut album, the overall quality is outstanding. Keep it up boys and don’t keep us waiting for your follow-up!

Track listing:

  1. Staring The Devil In The Eye
  2. Sailin’ East
  3. Work Away
  4. Star Of The County Down
  5. Guinness ‘n’ Chips
  6. Sunny Day In Southie
  7. I’ll Tell Me Ma
  8. The Good Ship Lagan
  9. Same Shite Different Night
  10. The Fields of Athenry

Slainte!

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Valentino Is Dead – Misadventures In Punk Rock Review

Valentino is DeadValentino Is Dead is an Irish Punk/Alternative band, and to clarify, they are from Ireland and a punk band – not an Irish Folk Punk band – so this review is a wee bit of a departure from my normal fare that I write about. Regardless, this band is hard rocking, their tunes are catchy and just downright fun to listen to. I discovered them thanks to a follow suggestion from Twitter and some free songs. Yeah, they are following the drug dealers method of business, give the taste away for free and get you hooked!

Hailing from the east coast of Ireland, this band clearly has a lot of diverse influences that makes for fun listening. Misadventures In Punk Rock is their debut album and listening to it, I was completely taken by surprise. The sound is polished and big. Each song stands on its own and has a different feel from the others on the album.  Right from the start, “Up Your Anti”, a song that is “really hard-hitting rocking song about the uprisings, fights for democracy and all that stuff in Egypt and all across North Africa”, sets the fast tone for what is come for 10 tracks on the album. The chorus is catchy and the music is fast and hard. “Forlorn” is perhaps my least favorite track on the album, musically it is great, but the electronic voice synthesizer to me takes away from the song, being a distraction from instruments. “A Galway Tale” is in my top 3 tracks of the album, starting a bit folky, it quickly moves into a catchy, nostalgic tune about fishing boats known as Galway Hookers.  “Not in My Name” follows, another of my top 3, that is has great vocals and varying tempos that goes straight to my soul, pounding my desk or steering wheel depending on where I am listening to the song. “This City Tonight” slows things down but still quite a foot tapper and enjoyably ditty. “Girl That Never” has a retro feel, evoking 60’s pop yet still current, if you are not singing along with the song by the end of it, I would be surprised! “Bad Boy Bubby” is an instantly catchy song that I had stuck in my head hours after listening to it. “Higher” brings to mind 80’s punk and alternative influences but not overly so with Valentino Is Dead still maintaining their domain over their music. “Homage to Hybris” though utilizing some voice synthesis, is not overdone. To me, it is the most somber of the songs on the album but given the catchiness of their songs, still expect to be bopping your head, tapping your fingers or feet as you listen to it. This brings us the last song on the album, and my final top 3, “Don’t Let The Bastards Get You Down”, this song has been added to Attitude Adjustment playlist – a song to remind you to keep chugging along and as the title says “Don’t Let The Bastards Get You Down”! The song is fun and quickly puts a smile to your face.

Valentino Is Dead has put out a great piece of work, one that is socially conscious and fun at the same time. The album is a fun contradiction, giving you some fast, rocking songs but still maintaining a pop catchiness to it. I would highly recommend you check these guys out for some fun listening! You can find their webpage at www.valentinoisdead.com, on Facebook and Twitter. If you sign up at their website, they will send you a link to download “Up Your Anti” for free!

Track listing:

  1. Up Your Anti
  2. Forlorn
  3. A Galway Tale
  4. Not in My Name
  5. This City Tonight
  6. Girl That Never
  7. Bad Boy Bubby
  8. Higher
  9. Homage to Hybris
  10. Don’t Let The Bastards Get You Down

Slainte!