June 3, 2010
Out of Victoria, Australia comes MacAlpine’s Fusiliers, brandishing a swaggie swagger and packing an old-school Colonial punch, care of fiddle, guitar, accordion, banjo, bass, drums, bodhran, lagerphone, tin whistle, spoons and of course, vocals, all dispersed nicely among the band’s five members.
Among this full assortment, it is the accordion that seems the most prominent instrument of the pack, pervasive in its effect, driving the sound, and providing a solid platform for the fiddle, whistle or vocals to lead the way. And these vocals come wrapped up tightly in their thick Southern Australian accent, which only adds to the atmosphere that is as much a part Sons & Daughters of the Soil, (the band’s 2007 debut,) as any of the listed instruments.
That atmosphere, an Australian Folk-Punk sound, is fully actualized here, too, thanks to the aforementioned instrumentation and vocals as well as the song selection, from traditions to originals, the latter of which are so well written, that they blend seamlessly in among the covers, (in fact, I had a hard time picking out the original compositions from the band’s interpretations of traditionals, assuming instead that these were old songs that I was, until now, simply unfamiliar with!)
It is fair to say that MacAlpine’s Fusiliers seem set to maintain a “folksier” sound, albeit, a somewhat punk-up folksier sound, but with no crunch or distorted guitars, nor angrily barked vocals. Just good honest songs.
The end result blazing away on Sons and Daughters of the Soil reminded me somewhat of the general feel midway between that of the Pogues and the Whisky Priests, (pretty damned good company for a debut!), but liberally laced with a strong ‘Down Under’ spin.
Honest, devoid of pretense or gimmick, and just rock-solid, good music.
Review by Christopher P. Toler, THE Blathering Gommel