This Texan five-piece plays traditional Irish music with a rocky edge. Traditional instruments (accordion, mandolin, tin whistle and acoustic guitar) are augmented by Berkley (bass) and Jonathan (drums) to produce a roaring folk sound not unlike the earliest Pogues.
The album opens with a lively romp through 'Roddy McCorley'. Lead vocalist Gerard, an Irish expatriate, sings in a likeable, tuneful growl that suits the up-tempo music very nicely. We get treated to some well-known songs, including 'Fields of Athenry', 'The Rare Old Mountain Dew', 'Whiskey in the Jar' and 'Wild Irish Rover'. Most songs are propelled by Hugh's stellar accordion, a sound that works in well with the whistle (Gerard) and mandolin/guitar (Neil).
Some of the tune combinations are real master strokes. 'Fields of Athenry' somehow melds into the wonderful tune "Merrily Kissed the Quaker', while the '3 Drunken Maidens Medley' throws in some famous American tunes like 'O Susannah' and (appropriately) 'Deep in the Heart of Texas'. But for me, the most sublime moment is the fantastic reworking of 'Botany Bay', book-ended by traditional tunes 'Off to California' and 'Peat Fire Flame'. This tracks's an instant classic.
Here's a debut album that contains a lot of familiar tunes and famous songs, played with an edge that no doubt makes Murder The Stout a most impressive live band. One can easily imagine their gigs developing into raucous singalongs and stompathons. Any chance of an Australian tour, lads?