Mr. Irish Bastard: A Fistful of Dirt

June 3, 2010

Mr. Irish Bastard, a 2008 Honorable Mention-holder for the Top-Ten Best Celtic Folk Punk CDs of the year at Shite ‘N’ Onions, returns with a new release, A Fistful of Dirt.

And it it just simply rocks.

The 5-piece Mr. Irish Bastard, (tin whistle, mandolin and banjo, bass guitar, drums guitar and vocals,) are supplemented here on ‘A Fistful of Dirt” by accordion, but, in a subtle and balanced manner, and though the vocals still more than just occasionally resemble those of a Hell’s Ditch-era Shane MacGowan, they are clear, slur-free and work quite well with the material presented on “Fistful.”

To describe Mr. Irish Bastard’s sound to those unfamiliar with it, is somewhat of a challenge. “A Fistful Of Dirt,” (the band’s third release, and follow-up to 2008’s brilliant “The Bastard Brotherhood,”) has aspects reminiscent of The Pogues, as well as of ones of The Dropkick Murphys and, most surprisingly, some strong elements that bring to mind Social Distortion. These meet and mix very well, though, and create a sound that is catchy and accessible, while at the same time embodying all the ingredients of a top-notch Celtic Folk-Punk band.

The songs, themselves, are really well-written, lyrically interesting, and devoid of the standard clichés of the genre, (i.e. overbearing accordion, every other track a drinking song, sea shanty covers, et cetera.) A Fistful of Dirt offers up fourteen tracks here; eleven origin compositions and three out-of-the-ordinary cover songs, including The Dubliners’ Second World Song, and an incredible remake of of The Clancy Brother’s Isn’t It Grand. Both of these songs are done with a great deal of respect without sacrificing the infusion of the Bastard sound. The other cover song included in the 46 minute-long, Fistful a rollicking, fun, and surprisingly “cool” version of the 80s, new-age tune, You Spin Me Right Round by Dead or Alive.

All of the Mr. Irish Bastard-penned original material on the disc is just as impressive, deftly balancing the energy and toothsome punk attack with folk and traditional elements to create a release worthy of reckoning, and in the end, “A Fistful of Dirt” is simply a fantastic CD. Extremely highly recommended to anyone with even a passing interest in the music presented on sites like this.

Review by Christopher P. Toler, THE Blathering Gommel

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