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