Who doesn’t miss Chris Byrne? Black ’47 lacks a certain toughness without the ex-cop uilleann piper, who left them to focus on his Celtic hip-hop group, Seanchai & Unity Squad. There’s a new uilleann piper, but his vocals aren’t very gruff. Still, so many of Black ’47’s songs are fun, catchy, even moving, and their horn-laden Irish-y pop rock sound is undeniably unique. As usual, if you can get past singer Larry Kirwan’s lectures and new-wave-y voice, and the fact that the drummer plays a goddamned drum machine, then you might want to pick this up. The disc does its part by accurately capturing a Black ’47 live set, complete with jigs and reggae jams; it’s up to you to fully replicate the experience by drinking Heineken, throwing cigarettes around, and whooping it up in a T-shirt that depicts a Bud Light logo within a shamrock.
By Pat Kennedy