I was familiar with The Porters from their 2001 debut, ‘A Tribute to Arthur Guinness,’ which was essentially a CD of rocked up traditional standards. As such, however, it failed to leave any lasting impression on me aside from containing a couple of fairly respectable covers, (“Irish Soldier Laddie” and “Four Green Fields” being the ones that stick out the most in my, granted, overly-perforated memory.)
In any case, it was with only minimal enthusiasm that I decided to sample their latest release, ‘Anywhere But Home’ while trolling iTunes for new music. Quite a surprise, here, as this whole disc proved to be a confident, and welcome addition to my Paddy-punk rotation.
Musically, the band appears driven primarily by the guitar and accordion, but is peppered liberally with mandolin and whistle as well as an occasional fiddle. Also, still present are the gruff, gravelly vocals from the first CD, but practiced into a naturalness with a result far more listenable and sounding somewhere between those of St. Bushmill’s Choir, The Skels and Popes-era MacGowan.
Although the band hails from the Düsseldorf, Germany area, one cannot detect any betrayal of this; all lyrics are in perfect English, and without accent, (unlike a fellow German paddy-punk band’s ‘Foggy Dew’ rendition, “Vas down ze glen vun Easter morn…”) Nor is there any novelty act stuff or a German-influence hybrid effect in the music. Just straight ahead, energetic, Irish-folk-punk sounds. And, after repeated listens, a number of tracks stood out on the this CD and not a dog to be found.
True, there is no major innovation or departure from formula, or anything we haven’t heard before from others in the genre, but ‘Anywhere But Home’ is a strong release in the vein of Greenland Whalefishers and The Swaggering Growlers, and, with 14 tracks and clocking in at just under an hour, its Paddy-Punk-Per-Penny value should also earn it your average bean counter’s nod of approval.
Grade: The Porters’ ‘Anywhere But Home’ comes in on The Toler Scale™ with a grade of a solid, clockwork “B+” for above average, which translates to your average listener as “worth the purchase” and ”worthy of repeated plays.”
But don’t take my word for it, check ‘em out first on iTunes, and dowload the whole disc for $9.99!
Review: Christopher Toler, THE Blathering Gommel