21st Century Reviews

You liked Roaring Jack, you might like some of the recent releases reviewed here!

30 January 2007

Various – What The Shite : Shite’n’Onions Volume 2 (Omnium, 2006)

So, here’s another compilation from the essential online Celtic punk fanzine, Shite’n’Onions. The first compilation (released 2004) provided great slabs of streetpunk and many combinations of folk music and punk rock in varying proportions. It was a unique introduction to a genre which builds upon the work of 1980s bands like the Pogues and Roaring Jack, adding a lot more pace and distortion to the mix.

Volume 2 contains a lot of bands familiar to anyone who accesses Shite’n’Onions regularly. You might have read reviews of their latest CDs, seen news about their tours or checked out the irreverent interviews. For starters, we’re blasted with a tanked up, cranked up rendition of the traditional ‘Drunken Sailor’ by Texan band the Blaggards. Very competent and assured, these folk, especially Turi Hoiseth's fiddle which drives this version. This song takes me back to Year Seven at school, except that our teacher Miss Orman didn't mention anything about shaving the poor bugger’s balls with a rusty razor! Jackdaw weighs in with the growly singalong 'Hogjaw' and then Melbourners The Go Set rip through one of their best tracks, 'Sing Me A Song'. There's further Aussie connection later on, with two slightly older tracks from the wonderful Mutiny. And if that's not enough Australiana, Canada's The Town Pants contribute 'The Weight of Words', a brilliant song about the life of a Canadian who leaves home for Australia ('And how can I stay here with Australia full of gold?') and returns to Canada via the horrors of the Pacific in World War II. Oh, and Three Day Threshold do a version of 'Pub With No Beer' that bears little resemblance to any other I've ever heard, but it's noisy bluegrassy fun nonetheless.

'Kicked In The Head' by The Kissers might be country-tinged, but it's as upbeat and relentless as anything else on this album. 'Kicked in the head by the Lord'? Brilliant! The Peelers from Canada will have you grinning at the 'Plastic Paddy' drinking whiskey and pina coladas at the local Irish theme pub.

You get a healthy serving of good old fashioned drinking songs, too, from the likes of the Gobshites, Larkin, the McGillicuddys, the Porters and the Pubcrawlers. And a bit of variety, with the funky, folky, progressive sounds of Icewagon Flu. But the highlight of the compilation for me has to be Warblefly's 'The Ballad of Ali Abbas', a speedy, intricate, angry indictment on the war in Iraq. And for closers, there's Barney Murray, formerly of Blood Or Whiskey. Barney has copped a lot of flak for his vocal style - or lack thereof - but on the gentle 'Troublesome Girl', he shows he really can hold a tune!

In all, a marvellous sampling of Celtic punk's latest crop. With so many flavours on this album, you're bound to find more than a few 'keepers'. The insert has web addressess for all the bands on the album, so you'll be able to check out more of their songs, listen online and buy their own recordings.