Release date: December 16, 2016
Running time: 57:38, 13 tracks
Katie’s Randy Cat were our Band of December 2014 and their “For the Green” EP reached no. 7 at the Best EPs list in 2014. Two years later, the band from Toledo, OH have released their debut album. An amazing album that also made our Best albums list in 2016.
Some line-up changes have taken place and the current personnel is Steve Steel (vocals, accordion, keys and tin whistle), Petr Kharchenko (lead guitar), Greg Heldt (Rhythm guitar), Jon Zenz (bass) and Matt Jones (drums, vocals). The album opener is titled “Maggie Malone”. At the beginning it’s a tin whistle accordion version of “Molly Malone” but soon it bursts into a fast-paced Celtic punk song featuring electric guitar. Track no. 2 is the single of the album, “Irish Reply (The Last Words of Big Adam Maguire)”. This is the first number on which the band’s new approach can be clearly noticed: an amazing Celtic punk-rock based on the American rock classics sounds. It’s a sort of suite with different parts. Firstly, a catchy part featuring tin whistle and accordion. Secondly, after a bass line, the song gets a bluesy The Doors treatment where Eric Oblander guests on harmonica. And, finally, the main theme comes back.
“Words” is an upbeat track where accordion and drums are showcased.
“Rise Up” is based on “The Battle Cry of Freedom” tune (the one that Billy Bragg chose for his “There’s Power in a Union”). The rhythm section does a great job, together with the backing vocals. This amazing number is followed by another kick-ass song: “Shots with Monaghan”. It’s an Irish ballad with guests on trumpet (John Grafing) and trombone (Kevin Haberkamp) that can be filed together with the Arse Craic and The Gobshites stuff.
“Fare Thee Well” is an accordion led song and Nichole Carpenter guests on vocals. Katie’s Randy Cat move to the Shane MacGowan territory on this track. Awesome. Track no. 7 is called “Wait”, a solid Celtic punk anthem that reminds me of the Hungarian band LochNesz. Guest Ted Voudouris plays violin.
Katie’s Randy Cat show a more intimate side on “On the Wind”. The violin, the guitar and the keys create the right atmosphere.
The first traditional number on the album is track no. 9, “Leaving of Liverpool”. Punk rock rendition with tin whistle, electric guitar and accordion. The next number follows a different approach, since “Thousand Names” has a funkie feel. Once again Nicole Carpenter adds backing vocals. “Old Dun Cow” is the second standard on “Irish Reply” and Katie’s Randy Cat have chosen a live rendition instead of a studio version. The result? Brilliant!
Finally, “Window (Sixty Minutes)” is a Velvet Underground infused number and “First of the Rest of the Day” is a good sing-along number to finish the album.
Katie’s Randy Cat “Irish Reply” is a great Celtic punk-rock album. The lads from Toledo have been able to offer something new and fresh on a field where a lot of bands don’t take any risk. Hats-off!
01 – Maggie Malone 3:47
02 – Irish Reply 4:58
03 – Words 5:06
04 – Rise Up! 4:40
05 – Shots with Monaghan 2:36
06 – Fare Thee Well 2:55
07 – Wait 3:58
08 – On the Wind 5:56
09 – Leaving of Liverpool 4:00
10 – Thousand Names 4:51
11 – Old Dun Cow (Live) 5:06
12 – Window (Sixty Minutes) 6:02
13 – First of the Rest of the Day 3:44
Review by Kinksmarkham