January 18, 2010
I have been listening to “Until We Die”, the first full-length release from the Czech quintet, Pipes and Pints all week. Since I first got it, in fact, and nothing else. You see, instead of just hearing a CD before reviewing it, I like to be REALLY familiar with it.
Yeah, I say that, but the fact of the matter is, I just can’t enough of this CD! There isn’t a dog on it! Every track is a full-tilt barn-burner that had me singing along, drumming on the dash, and really wishing I could catch a live show from these guys.
This was all the more welcomed considering when I first got it, I thought I would hear, well, something less. “A standard rock outfit,” I thought, “with a token trad. instrument. Been there.” Well, yeah, it is a standard rock outfit, (drums, bass, guitar, and vocals,) and a single trad. instrument, (bagpipes,) but there is a whole lot more going on here. Something harder to put a finger on.
“Until We Die” contains thirteen honest, and cliché-free tracks. There are no punked-up versions of old traditional Celtic tunes, (No “Scotland the Brave,” or “Danny Boy,”) or slow, mournful piping. In fact, aside from the band’s name, the bagpipes share no more of the spotlight than do the lead vocals, or the guitar, (the latter of which stretches out on occasion and runs some honest-to-goodness guitar solos, an increasingly uncommon thing in this genre!)
The pipes, themselves, seem to serve as a standard punk rock instrument on “Until We Die,” possessing only an incidental Celtability, and seem to be a completely natural element here. This has a great deal to do with the songs, of course. All of the tracks have a very natural, and organic feel to them, written simply for the instruments at hand and without any forced identity.
Pipes and Pints may well be deeply entrenched in the ‘Gangs All Here/Do Or Die’-era Dropkick Murphys-end of the Celtic Punk genre, but this is not just another copycat band. There is something very real about them and it is in full-dress here on “Until We Die.”
And, having totally immersed myself in this CD for a week now, I feel quite justified in highly recommending Pipes and Pints’“Until We Die.”
Review by Christopher P. Toler, THE Blathering Gommel.