Release date: March 17, 2016
Running time: 35:41, 10 tracks
Bagpipes melodic punk is little by little building a niche in the European (Celtic) punk scene. The likes of Scotch (Austria), Curlies (Czech Republic) and To the Last Drop (France) are young bands blending pipes and punk whose songs are appealing to both punk and Celtic punk audiences.
To the Last Drop was the first band that caught our attention. Their kick-ass 4 track demo was reviewed here in 2012. Later, the guys from Paris chose Celtic Folk Punk and More to premier in 2015 the first song from their debut album. Although they told me that the full album wouldn’t be available immediately, I’ve been eagerly waiting for “Shipwreck”. Fortunately, the wait has been worth it. “Shipwreck” is a badass album.
“Shipwreck” consists of 10 original songs, 7 brand new tracks and 3 re-recorded versions of songs from their previous work. “The Battle” opens the album. This anthemic number showcases the band’s stamp: infectious chorus, great backing vocals, a tight rhythm section, a perfect balance between pipes and electric guitar and lyrics with a Scottish feel.
The following number is “Sword of Skye”, the song that was advanced last year. To the Last Drop take a well-known bagpipe air and give it a melodic punk treatment. Once again, the lyrics show the band’s love to Scotland.
Track no. 3 is an outstanding number. “C.U.N.T.” tells the story of any To the Last Drop gig: “Put your fist in the air / Raise your glass and sing loud / Tonight is our night and we have to be proud …”. This song is a real call to arms, a brilliant bagpipes punk number.
“Boston Libert Party” moves to a different territory. I dare say that To The Last Drop are normally more The Real McKenzies than Dropkick Murphys. But on this particular number they pay tribute to Boston’s finest. Sally MacLennane (The Pogues song) and Dropkick Murphys are mentioned and the approach is classic DKM: whiskey fueled bagpipes, a chorus to sing along at the pub and addictive backing vocals. “Boston is not in New England, Boston is the new Ireland”. Enuff said.
The first song from the demo CD that can be found on “Shipwreck” is “Red Widow”. A catchy song with an excellent chorus “Hurry up, hurry up your skin and bones / Do everything you want to do / Say everything you want to say / And I’ll just walk away …”
I’d like to find another words for track no. 6, “Wait for a Minute”, but it’s not easy. All of the band’s songs are catchy and the chorus invite you to sing along. And this bagpipes melodic punk song is not an exception.
Track no. 7 is another song from the demo, the classic anthem “Lost in the Highlands”. Fantastic bagpipes punk song with a hip hop part at the end. If I were a member of a Celtic punk band, this one would be a song that I would cover.
Once again, To the Last Drop deliver a Dropkick Murphys influenced number, “Golden River of Whisky”, a song featuring guest Nicolas on accordion.
“Everywhere I Go” is not an Oysterband cover, but an excellent self-penned song with a country twist, totally different from the rest of the album. It’s not out of place; quite the contrary, it adds something special to the album.
To finish up, To the Last Drop give a new lease of life to their “business card”, the top-notch song “We’ve Got a Band”.
To the Last Drop “Shipwreck” is housed in a digipack. An 8 page booklet includes the lyrics to all of the songs. The album was recorded by To The Last Drop and mixed and mastered by Ilan Benitah. Several friends added their instruments to some of the songs: Clem (additional guitar), Flave (Irish bouzouki), Ruy (violin), Nicolas (accordion) and Anaïs (cello).
The album can be purchased from Bandcamp, both CD and digital versions are available. Let me insist on the fact that you should buy the digipack CD. There is no excuse, these guys are at the front of the European bagpipes punk scene, they sing in English and they provide you with the lyrics to sing along. IMHO, “Shipwreck” is a must have for any (Celtic) punk fan.
01. The Battle 04:29
02. Sword of Skye 02:41
03. C.U.N.T. 05:04
04. Boston Liberty Party 03:59
05. Red Widow 03:26
06. Wait for a Minute 03:34
07. Lost in the Highlands 03:36
08. Golden River of Whisky 02:28
09. Everywhere I Go 02:59
10. We’ve Got a Band 03:03
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Review by Kinksmarkham