Imagine you are with a couple of friends in a punk band and you are just chilling after a gig. You all are drinking Pepsi and talking about badges and nose rings when some brigand (which you couldn’t see because you weren’t drinking Crystal Pepsi, therefore your line of sight was obscured) coshes all of you and nicks your gear.
First, you lament the fact that Crystal Pepsi is no longer being made. Second, you sigh pick up a bunch of mandolins and acoustics and start a band called Smokey Bastard and go punk on a couple of Banshees on your quest for Tír na nÓg.
Anyways, Smokey Bastard brings us a new album called Tales from the Wasteland, a very loud collection of folky songs. Imagine if the Celts had hillbillies (yeah, we call them Saxons- burn!) and while marauding around, they played music. Yup, that’s the sound of Smokey Bastard. It’s also the sound of another village being razed (‘Wasteland’).
The punkiness comes around for several rounds (‘Eden Holme (pt I)’, the brutal ‘Mongrel’) but the band stays very true to their Celtic sound with some moments of respite, let’s say an instrumental that feels like a sea shanty (‘Token Folkin’) , a roaring bar sing-along (‘My son John’), a gloomy dirge (‘Boatepitaph (pt II)’ , a cut that feels out of The Godfather (‘Bad Reception’) and a sweet lamentation (‘Dear Mol’).
But in the end, it’s the combination of some honest-to-Boudica rock (‘Mong some hoof’ – everybody dance!), a chucklesome sense of humour (‘Aspirations, I have some’ had me in stitches…”and maaanyyy mooore!”) and a true love of Celtic music ( I love ‘Cheer up, love (worse things happen at sea) (pt III)).
Let’s go geeky and let’s talk about the artwork: it seems Ss Sm Smokey Bastard are fans of Steampunk. Not only due to the cover art, but the internal stuff, including a flying ship (where’s Robur, though?) and a very cool city landscape really adds to the experience. I wonder if there’s more to it?
Oh, and they cover ‘Mamma Mia’. Not a single Pierce Brosnan on sight (dude, go back to Bond, please). Oh and the guy who stole their gear? It got 86’ed by a land Narwhal. Man, those beasts can be bloodthirsty.
PS: Check the video for ‘Yuppie Dracula’. Album is available on pre-order.
Smokey Bastard: Website. Myspace. Facebook. Reverbnation. Twitter. Last.fm.