December 25, 2012
Across The Border, from the Karlsruhe area of Germany are one of Celtic-punks longest running groups releasing at least seven albums and E.P.s. I believe the band’s history goes back to 1991 which puts them into the same vintage bracket as The Mahones and Black 47 though unlike these two acts, FOLKPUNK AIRRAID, is the first album I’ve really heard from this band. What I’m hearing is energetic Celtic-folk-punk reminiscent of fellow Germans, FIDDLERS GREEN, and strong influences by THE POGUES and THE CLASH (obviously). Every track on FOLKPUNK AIRRAID is a winner but I need to highlight, AWAY, a tribute to THE CLASH, the full throttle, MARRY ME OR BURY ME and the BLACK 47 sounding, WHAT IF MEN. My big reservation is the vocals that just don’t do it for me – I can’t put my finger on it, maybe the accent but then again after 20 years together I’m sure they don’t give a shite if I like the vocals or not.
This two-disc set is the swan song for one of Germany’s most talented folk- punk outfits, Across the Border. Featuring an intense rhythm section, AtB derives most of their melody from accordion and fiddle with electric guitar tastefully complimenting their sound when needed. This collection judiciously samples their many releases from 1995’s HAG SONGS through 2000’s SHORT SONGS, LONG FACES. The most frequently represented album (with eight tracks) is CRUSTY FOLK MUSIC FOR SMELLY PEOPLE, which is no surprise because it is arguably their finest effort. Additionally, several previously unreleased tracks are included, the finest being “Glad to Know” and “Chasing the Tail.” The only obvious omission to this retrospective, in my opinion, is their fiery rendition of Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Boxer.” If you enjoy melodic folk-punk coupled with issues oriented lyrics a la The Levellers or Oysterband, Across the Border will be to your liking.
Review By Dave Sleger