Tag Archives: The Pokes

The Pokes: Mayday

June 1, 2014

Mayday is the fourth album by Berlin based Pokes as they continue on in their quest to be the worlds greatest Polka-punk band. Loads of growling vocals and heavy on the accordion (polka style). Mayday is a nice balance of attitude, humor and strong German beer. Bitch-Cow-Darling must be a contender for love song of the year. In all a very enjoyable album. God Save the Pokes, Indeed!

The Pokes: High Hopes

October 10, 2011

Germany’s THE POKES (just to keep the recent German theme going) are one of those bands that year-over-year, release-over-release are consistently good, and High Hopes their 3rd release doesn’t disappoint. The Pokes name and main folk influence come from Polka and The Polks proudly play Punk’n’Polka – think of THE CLASH at Octoberfest with the The Pogues serving up good German beers (though The Pokes are NOT trying to be Irish just Polka with the attitude). Lots of good sing/shout along stuff, gruff vocals (mostly in English) and a tight, tight band.


The Pokes: High Hopes

January 4, 2011

Germany’s The Pokes are back with another chapter in their own book of German/Celtic Folk punk in the form of High Hopes, their third full length release.Germany’s The Pokes are back with another chapter in their own book of German/Celtic Folk punk in the form of High Hopes, their third full length release.

The band continues with its highly recognizable profile, dominated by an accordion and a banjo, that fit together so cohesively and complementarily that it is difficult to hear where one ends and the other begins, (no mean feat for such diverse instruments!), and those jarring, staccato vocals that start and stop like a ransom note yet never fully leave the basement register.

Some very subtle fiddle is also present on High Hopes, especially on my personal disc fave, Dinosaur, a toe tapper laced with some snappy snare and that aforementioned fiddle’s scales keeping the thing smack dab in the ‘danceable’ range. Dos and Don’ts and Gone is Gone are also stand-outs for me, simply for their catchy melody and each one’s simple chorus.

High Hopes continues with its folk-punk leanings that, although vaguely Celtic in instrumentation and lilt, don’t seem altogether committed to the sound. The band’s German roots are only fully revealed in the track “Ich Werde Verfolgt“ (“I am Pursued,”) both with the use of language and the “Oom-Pah-Pah,” beer-hall sound of the track. Aside from this obvious entry, there are no other blatant signs, foreign language or accent detected throughout the disc. But still, there is something… different. Accessible, yet foreign, and not in a bad way, either.

High Hopes sees The Pokes, with their ‘Germano-Celtic Folk-Punk’ sound, creating a solid follow-up disc to 2007’s Poking the Fire. In fact, although High Hopes doesn’t seem to have the immediately grabbing tracks like Poking the Fire’s title track or big hit, (and video star,) The Day I Pass Away, it seems to me to be a more enjoyably consistent release with out a low point on the disc!


Review by Christopher P. Toler, THE Blathering Gommel

The Pokes: Poking The Fire

Out of the Celtic Folk-Punk hotbed of Berlin, Germany comes The Pokes. And yes, the name was chosen as a tribute to Mr. MacGowan and Company.

Despite this, the band makes it quite clear that they are “not Irish and do not pretend to be.” They make this clear not just through the very frank statements saying just this on their CD liner notes as well as their website and MySpace page, but also through their music; not only omitting any songs about Ireland or any traditional Irish covers on their ‘POKING THE FIRE’ release, but including 2 tracks sung in German! ‘POKING THE FIRE’, the band’s 2nd full-length release, is full of rowdy, rambunctious, sing-alongs, that seems to aim as much for creating its own sound as it does to staying true to its Paddy Punk formula. In doing so, something altogether unusual is the outcome, with few words summing up The Pokes as accurately as the word “fun.”

Instrumentally, the CD plays like a showcase for the accordion with banjo ornamentation and the rest of the band providing an elaborate and very percussive backdrop with sharp, angular voicings from the acoustic guitar, bass, and drums.

Lead vocals are abruptly barked out in emphatic, boisterous metronomic syncopation and kept within a limited scale for a result that seems to hide the German accent; noticeable only now and again throughout the disc’s fourteen tracks, (thirteen, plus an unnamed, uncredited, banjo-only tune that starts after sixteen minutes of silence after last song on the disc ends.) This vocal treatment does create a mood that seems somehow foreign to the familiar melodies; contrasting, yet complimenting. Perhaps, an attempt at some sort of hybrid sound between the Celtic influences and the band’s German heritage was the goal here. Whatever the aim, the result is a sound that is pretty singular and recognizable to The Pokes.

The disc opens with a great track called “The Day I Pass Away,” (with an equally cool video available at the band’s MySpace page,) that sets the pace appropriately, and the disc’s velocity barely drops below this bar.

Or, in short, fun.


Review by Christopher P. Toler, THE Blathering Gommel