Release date: 2011
Running time: 57:02, 16 tracks
I feel that Paddy and The Rats are one of the best Celtic punk bands that have come out from Europe in these last years. I voted them as the best newcomer of the year in 2009 and the best album in 2010 at the “Lieblinge der Redaktion” poll at www.celtic-rock.de. So, I was looking forward to hearing “Hymns for Bastards”. It was the same feeling that I had when Firkin, the other excellent band from Hungary, released their second album.
“Hymns for Bastards” is 16 tracks and around an hour of music. It’s clear that the Hungarian bands are crazy. They don’t follow the normal trend. We have to wait for other band’s releases 2 or 3 years and normally the running times are around 40 minutes or less. But Paddy and the Rats and Firkin are releasing one album every year. Somebody told me that this means that a band is prolific, but not that the songs are good. In this case, I must say that the songs are top-notch.
Which are the differences between “Rats on Board” and “Hymns for Bastards”? Both albums have been produced by Paddy O’Reilly (lead Vocals, acoustic guitars) However, this time Paddy O’Reilly and Seamus Conelly (drums) have been the recording and mixing engineers too. Multi-instrumentalist Sam McKenzie, apart from fiddle, mandolin and tin whistle, plays now low whistle, piano, bagpipes and banjo (bagpipes and banjo were previously played by guests, Sam only played banjo in “Clock Strikes Midnight”)
Lyrics are about drinking, friendship (“Brotherhood”), Irish emigration (“Immigrants Song”, Irish mythology ("The Three Little Thieves”)… and we hear again about characters such as Sailor Sally (“The Irish Washerwoman”), Jimmy (“Droppings Down the Floor”,“Smuggler’s Booze”) or places like the Pubmarine (“The Pubmarine”).
This is OK, but, what about the music? Amazing. No pub standards, but great Irish tunes in songs such as “The Irish Washerwoman” or “Pack of Rats”. DKM influences in some songs (“Brotherhood”, “Working all the Week” and “Wicked Suicide”). Cow punk and even Argentinian tango sounding accordion in “Farewell to Jenny”. Celtic pop numbers like “Never Walk Alone” (featuring low whistle and piano) or “Paddy’s Ballad” ( a little bit Corrs with a Beatles end).And the Paddy and The Rats stamp on every single song, with their infectious choruses.
Some comments on the tracks that stand out:
“Brotherhood” is a great track, a The Cherry Cokes meet Dropckick Murphys song. Maybe the influence of DKM is too obvious (bagpipes and banjo) and it seems to come directly from the last DKM album.
“Working All The Week” is clearly a Paddy and the Rats song. All the elements are there. A good guitar work that reminds me of The Clash.
“Droppings Down the Floor" is one of my faves. Excellent bass. The lyrics make me think of The Levellers “Carry Me”:
Paddy and The Rats
“Dave’s on rehab,
Mike’s in detox
and Jimmy’s in the jail
screwed up lifes and fucked up friends”.
“ But Jane is taking heroin
and Paul is getting pissed,
Steve is getting stoned
too fucked to fight
Sarah’s on acid
and Sean has blown his mind
someone’s busy hiding
too fucked to fight”
“Smuggler’s Booze” a fantastic sing a-long
“Off the Wagon”, a catchy tune with great mandolin, guitar and whistle.
“Immigrant’s Song”, featuring Denis Jelly from The Moorings. Wonderful accordion.
“Wicked Suicide” Another song featuring pipes, another one of my faves. Some lines at the end remind me of Ramones:
“A big cleft side one step to fall
Darin your fucking blood for the rock’n’roll
One for fun, two for the show
Make some breaking news in the radio”
Paddy and The Rats have recorded the album that all of their fans were expecting. “Hymns for Bastards” will be one of the Top 10 albums this year, sure. And don't forget that the band will be playing in Lublin (Poland) at the Hello Folks Festival sharing the stage with the likes of Brutus’ Daughters and Mr. Irish Bastard. Don’t miss them!
02-Working All The Week 4:00
03-Droppings Down The Floor 3:52
04-Irish Washerwoman 4:18
05-The Three Little Thieves 3:08
06-Never Walk Alone 4:29
07-Farewell To Jenny 4:07
08-Smuggler's Booze 2:29
09-Off The Waggon 2:50
10-Pilgrim On The Road 3:40
11-Pack Of Rats 3:25
12-Immigrant's Sons 3:33
13-Wicked Suicide 3:26
14-Place For Hell 3:03
15-The Pubmarine 3:22
16-Paddy's Ballad 3:47
Review by Kinksmarkham