REVIEW: THE MAHONES – ANGELS & DEVILS (2012)
For a fun time, look no further than The Mahones‘ own new release Angels and Devils. This Irish punk band, with 20 years of history under their belt (and many member changes) present a collection of rough around the edges “Paddy Rock” that will have you smiling the whole time, even if you (like me) tend to avoid celebratory profanities and boozin’ it up. In a recent declaration, a radio DJ proclaimed “Angels & Devils’ will be making waves in the Paddy Rock scene for years to come. Possibly the best Celtic Punk album EVER!” This DJ is from the acclaimed Paddy Rock Chicago Station, not something to be taken lightly.
It should come to surprise no one that the band takes the best of the punk and celtic scenes and welds them together in a predictable, albeit FUN package. Many of these tracks could be Irish drinking songs – with whimsical titles like “Past the Pint of No Return” and “Whiskey Train” how can this be denied? That isn’t to say that The Mahones are all about drunken glory – but they are all about partying, whether its under the tap or full on revolution (“The Revolution Starts Now”). The band really shines in album opener “Shakespeare Road” which presents five plus minutes of punk that are so fast paced and cheerful you’ll hardly believe it is the longest on the album. Contrast this with the much slower paced “The Waiting” which is one of the shortest on the record.
The Irish roots stand out the most on the jubilant (I’m running out of adjectives here) medleys. I’m not well-spoken enough in the background of Irish punk culture to extrapolate all the nuances of these medleys, nonetheless pick apart the references noted by each “part” of the medleys. However, these instrumentals are two of my favorite tracks on the entire record. Hear that violin kick in the second medley, and your mind’s eye will be transported to a bar in the heart of Killarney. The band closes the record with plenty of muscle, a tune called “Tin Soldiers” that intros with an unabashedly punk riff. Sweetness.
The Mahones will be supporting Dropkick Murphy’s on an upcoming world tour, and they have been featured in the famed motion picture The Fighter, so there’s that…yeah, I’m really surprised this record is the first I’ve listened to these guys. It’s nothing groundbreaking, but definitely worth your time.