Craic "Amongst the Mischief and Malarkey" CDR-001
Release date: March 17,2014
Running time. 34:42, 11 tracks
Cleveland’s finest are back with their debut album, “Amongst the Mischief and Malarkey”. Craic’s 11 track CD is probably the most awaited album in 2014 (together with The Ramshackle Army’s debut album). The eight piece from Ohio jumped to the top of the EPs list of 2011, a list that was voted by fans from all over the world. In 2013 they released the single “Hold the Penny/Dirty Old Town” to whet appetites and finally “Amongst the Mischief and Malarkey” was released last Saint Patrick’s Day.
The six guys and two girls have worked again with ex-Dropkick Murphys member Ryan Foltz and the final result is a MUST HAVE album. If you are a follower of this e-zine, you’re already familiar with the two songs from the single and “The Irish Banshee”, since a video for that song was recently released. Then you know what you can expect from the rest of the album. If you’re a sceptic fan and you’re thinking that Craic have chosen the best songs for the videos and single, but the other tracks could be less interesting, you’re totally wrong. The album is really tight and there is no clunker from the beginning to the end.
There are three sorts of songs on “Among the Mischief and Malarkey”. The first group of songs would be the fast-paced, catchy numbers with the Craic’s Celtic/Bluegrass trademark: “Hold the Penny”, “The Irish Banshee”, but also “36 Bombs” and my faves: “Roads Less Traveled” (one of the best songs on the album), “Marching Orders” (another kickass number) and “Parallels” (Celtic punk at its best). Banjo, tin whistle, fiddle and electric guitar are showcased on all these songs. They’re perfectly backed by the brilliant rhythm section while frontman Brett Burlison does a fantastic job on vocals.
The second group would be the “slow” numbers: “Lonesome Lullaby” (excellent number; curiously it makes me think of a seminal Celtic pop-rock band from my area, Sorotan Bele), “Serenity” (not really a slow number since the tempo goes up and down and Craic show that they do really know how to master it) and “Lily & Nolan" (a sort of a waltz. If you can’t dance, don’t play this song when the missus is around or you’ll be obliged to dance with her! )
The last group would be the covers. Apart from Ewan MacColl’s classic song “Dirty Old Town”, Craic have decided to record their own rendition of “Fields of Athenry”. There are a lot of covers of this song and my usual advice is “Please don’t record this song, Neck, Greenland Whalefishers and Dropkick Murphys renditions can't be improved. “ However, I must admit that I have really enjoyed Craic’s cover because of the gang vocals, Brett and Nikki (tin whistle) lead vocals and the overall sound (guitars, banjo and fiddle).
The album package is a jewel case with an inlay card, but no lyrics to the songs. This is the only weak point. All the credits are stated and Craic have not forgotten to dedicate the album to their biggest fan, the late David Scott Rasile a.k.a. Drazzle, who run the Paddy O’Punk podcast. Thank you guys!. Not only are you great musicians, but you’re also true gentlemen.
Normally I try to use different words to say the same thing again, but I feel that this time I won’t do it. There is only one way to put into words what Craic have done: “Amongst the Mischief and Malarkey” is a MUST HAVE album. ‘nuff said.
01 - Hold the Penny 2:44
02 - Lonesome Lullaby 3:38
03 - 36 Bombs 2:44
04 - Dirty Old Town 2:42
05 - Roads Less Traveled 2:42
06 - Irish Banshee 3:01
07 - Serenity 3:19
08 - Marching Orders 2:40
09 - Parallels 3:52
10 - Lily & Nolan 3:51
11 - Fields of Athenry 3:24
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Review by Kinksmarkham