I’ve been a big fan of Blood or Whiskey since the release of their classic self-titled CD back in ’96 ( or ’97,) so when it was announced last year that Barney Murray – vocalist and main songwriter – was leaving the band due to ill health, I was disappointed and felt the game was up for a great band. The other original members: Dugs (guitar and now vox) and Chris O’Mara (drums) thought otherwise. Too much blood, sweat and tears had been invested over the previous 6 years to just give it up now. A new line up was recruited with Dugs now on vocals and the band have been working their collective bollox off since – touring Europe, the USA, crashing vans, going to jail and having Topper from the Clash sitting in on the drums one infamous night.
The 5 track promo was put out for the recent US tour with the Dropkick Murphys and basically it’s a one-take in the rehearsal studio deal so it wouldn’t be very fair to nit-pick against the two proper studio releases. So how do the new band sound you ask? Well, the familiar – banjo – tin whistle – accordion – sound is still there making the trade mark Blood or Whiskey racket but the band are playing much harder then before. It’s as if though they have changed from being a traditional band playing punk to a punk band playing trad. Dugs tries hard on vocals to pull of the Barney Murray voice but sounds too strained. Hopefully the vocal chords improve when they get to the recording studio proper.