Japanese bands in this genre are unfortunately and all too frequently overlooked. Perhaps the difference in languages makes finding and ordering them so difficult, or maybe the biggest hurdle is the price after shipping from Asia. Whatever the reasons, some great bands’ music is being kept from our ears. The Croagh Patrick is one of those great bands.
HELL’S JIG is the 2nd full length release from The Croagh Patrick, and with songs like “??,” “????,” and “????????,” one can guess that the courted audience is mostly Japanese, but that is where the primary Eastern influence ends. The Croagh Patrick’s sound is a fresh, tight and compact mix of an energetic Paddy-Punk style and high-speed, driving melodies that create a real upbeat mood that is accessible and highly enjoyable despite the language barrier.
The band’s instrumentation is made up of guitars, banjo, mandolin, bass, drums, accordion and tin whistle, divided among it’s five musicians with such a well blended sound that no one instrument stands out more than the others in the mix, instead giving the songs themselves the spotlight.
2007’s HELL’S JIG, the follow-up to the 2005 debut, SLAINTE, includes in its packaging all the tracks’ lyrics, which is helpful because the two songs that are allegedly in English would never be decipherable without reading along. Somehow, however, this doesn’t matter. The songs are so good and executed with such enthusiasm that the vocals become simply another ornamental instrument in the disc’s overall signature.
You may not be able to sing along with the words in these songs, but sitting still is not an option, either. Dashboard drumming is almost unavoidable but requires a whole new level of proficiency when HELL’S JIG is in the deck.
One final caveat: This disc was not an easy acquisition. I found this out after many months on backorder from JPOPhelp.com, but with the wait (finally!) over, it was well worth it.
Review by Christopher P. Toler, THE Blathering Gommel