Release date: March 1, 2016
Running time: 23:47, 9 tracks
2016 is The Ceili Family’s 20th Anniversary. The band from Hagen is the chain link between classic German bands from the 90’s (Fiddler’s Green, In Search of a Rose, Lady Godiva…) and the “new” German Celtic punk scene fronted by Mr. Irish Bastard in the XXI century. Curiously, The Ceili Family discography is far from being prolific: 1 single in 2014, 1 EP in 2000, two mini-albums in 2006 and 2016, and one album in 2009. That is, only 32 songs. Robin Hiermer and his band mates started covering songs by the likes of Christy Moore, The Dubliners, The Pogues and Shane MacGowan, but on their second record “Tooraloo” (2006) they included their first self-penned song. And after that mini-album, they have basically recorded their own stuff. Even if their universe is 100% Irish and The Pogues shadow is obvious, I found a The Whisky Priests twist on their “Tory Kings” songs (2009), due mainly to Volker Salzmann’s accordion.
The new mini-album is titled “Ministry of Silly Folk”. The album begins with a short “Intro” that is followed straightaway by “Ban of Bowsies”. The music is classic The Ceil Family sound. Robin’s vocals are angrier, the accordion takes the lead and the fiddle is a little bit backwards. I notice again that The Whisky Priests’ stamp. The next song is called “Alive” and it’s one of the album highlights: an upbeat song featuring Shane MacGowan sounding vocals by Robin and the same Glenn Miller inspired accordion playing.
“End of the Day” is a song written by Andrew David Watts aka Spider Mahone and Robin put music to the words. A quieter number before another kick-ass Celtic punk song: “Throw Your Diary in the Garbagecan”. Accordionist Volker sings lead vocals on this amazing number that reminds me of standards like “The Jug of Punch” and “St. Anne’s Reel“. The fiddle plays the major role on this song and on the next one: “Brain Cells”, an infectious fast-paced number sung by Robin.
Track no. 7 is the last of the new songs. It’s a ballad based on an idea by Christian Umlauf. I’ve said that it’s the last of the new songs, because it’s not the last song on the album. The Ceili Family have added the two songs from their previous single, “Keep Calm and Have a Ball with the Ceili Family”. Both songs are catchy celtic punk numbers. “Voices” moves to The Whisky Priests end and “Promotion” to The Pogues end (with a “Rainy Night in Soho” feel)
“Ministry of Silly Folk” is housed in a gatefold sleeve. There are no lyrics, but all the relevant info is included: songs credits, studio credits, line-up and thank-yous.
One could think that The Ceili Family are a lazy band. However,I guess that The Ceili Family members have another commitments (works and families) and they cannot release as much recordings as their fans want. But I wish they could deliver more albums in their third decade. It would be very good for the Celtic punk-rock scene.
1 – Intro 0:13
2 – Band of Bowsies 2:39
3 – Alive 2:30
4 – End of the Day 3:34
5 – Throw Your Diary in the Garbagecan 2:28
6 – Brain Cells 2:46
7 – Banks of Inishfree 4:02
8 – Voices 2:13
9 – Promotion 3:06
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Review by Kinksmarkham