Release date: September 15, 2015
Running time: 43:05, 12 tracks
Irish/gypsy punk-rock band from Grand Rapids The Waxies are back with their third album, “Down with the Ship”. Their previous released was reviewed here and we loved it, so we were looking forward to listening to their next album. And one thing is for sure: “Down with the Ship” is their best album to date.
Branden Garner (mandolin), Mack Adama (drums), Conor Bardallis (bass), Michael Prokopchuk (fiddle), Miles Anderson (guitar), Mikay McKibbin (tin whistle) and Jesse Powers (banjo) officially launched “Down with The Ship” last September 19th together with their buddies Stone Clover. The album begins with “Saintly Anne”, an infectious number about a special woman that can rival with Bastard Bearded Irishmen stuff. It’s followed by “Down With The Ship”, a nautical song where the band sound really tight.
Track no. 3 is called “For Those We Know”. It’s a top notch song in memory of Nate Carey that can be filed together with Fiddler’s Wage (formerly Callanach) and Dust Rhinos best material.
The next number is an Irish tune, “The Silver Spear” reel. Brilliant rendition and excellent choice.
“Terrible Beauty” lyrics were written by Jim Hines of Naples, Florida. It’s a poignant song about Irish history and diaspora.
Track no. 6 is called “Flotsam”, another seafaring number with badass Arabic fiddle arrangements. Rhythm section also shines on this song.
“Carry On” is one of my faves too. This amazing number has a similar feel to The Tossers “The Emerald City” or The Whisky Priests “Think Positive!” albums.
“The Cure” is a fantastic “drinking” song that evolves from a mid-tempo number to an energetic end with a slight ska twist.
The Waxies move to the cow punk territory with “How Can a Man”, a song that I’m sure that the lads from The Men They Couldn’t Hang would appreciate.
Time for a standard. The Waxies deliver a kick-ass rendition of “Step it Out Mary”. Boy and girl vocals and interesting banjo and fiddle arrangements can be heard on this song.
The second instrumental on the album is titled “Taksim”. This self-penned tune features great mandolin, fiddle and rythm section. As the title comes from a well-known square in Istambul, the sound is then Turkish.
The album is over with “The Parting Glass”, the second standard on “Down with the Ship” and the perfect end. Good job by whistler and fiddler.
“Down with the Ship” comes in a four panel digipack. No lyrics booklet is included, but all of the lyrics can be found at Bandcamp. Full credits, band’s line-up and thank yous are stated on the digipack. The original nautical themed cover art was made by Lawrence Kole. The Waxies’ previous album “Wasted Saints” was produced by fiddler Michael Prokopchuk and The Waxies and “Down with the Ship” has been produced by bassist Conor Bardallis and The Waxies. The result is a well-balanced sound where every single instrument gets the right treatment.
Are The Waxies the usual raucous Celtic punk band? Probably not. But, is “Down with the Ship” an interesting album? Yes, a very interesting album and a must have for Celtic infused music fans. The Waxies are a tight band and they are able to work in different fields (Irish, gypsy, “pirate”, Mid-East folk…) and assemble a flawless album. “Down with the Ship” has the right stuff for me: excellent self-penned song, some instrumentals and a couple of chosen standards. Go ahead and buy this gem.
01. Saintly Anne 02:30
02. Down with the Ship 04:45
03. For Those We Knew 02:29
04. The Silver Spear 01:58
05. Terrible Beauty 02:22
06. Flotsam 04:14
07. Carry On 04:32
08. The Cure 05:26
09. How Can a Man 04:09
10. Step It Out Mary 03:17
11. Taksim 03:34
12. The Parting Glass 03:22
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Review by Kinksmarkham