Release date: November 10, 2017
Running time: 43:04, 12 tracks
After a long hiatus, The Dreadnoughts came back in 2017 with their most ambitious album to date. “Foreign Skies” is a concept album about the First World War. At the rear of the digipack there is no standard track listing, but three acts: Act I, tracks from 1 to 5, Act II, tracks from 6 to 8 and Act III, tracks from 9 to 12.
My fave numbers belong to Act I, which is also the longest one. “Up High” is an excellent song with a British folk rock twist. “Foreign Skies” is The Dreadnoughts at its best: Ramones echoes at the beginning, fast paced accordion, woahs’s on the backing vocals, circus music, Eastern Europe sounds … and even a dash of Queen. “Daughters of the Sun” is a song about the sufraggettes. Fiddle and accordion punk with hey shouts and more gypsy touches. The next track is the polka on the album, “Amiens Polka”, while “The Bay of Suvla” is badass anti-war song. I love that a cappella shanty. However, there is a mistake on the liner notes: Ewan MacColl didn’t write “And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda”. Scottish Australian folk singer-songwriter Eric Bogle wrote that song, together with other brilliant anti-war numbers such as “The Green Fields of France (No Man’s Land)” and “All the Fine Young Men”.
Act II is probably the most “punk” of the three, with cuts like “Anna Maria” and “Jericho”. “Black and White” gets a classic Dreadnoughts treatment and it’s one of the highlights on the album.
The last act kicks off with “Gavrilo”, an upbeat Balkan song featuring horns. It’s followed by the quieter song on “Foreign Skies”: “A Broken World”, a piano number where guest Zoey Exley recites the words. The album is over with a couple of standout songs: “Black Letters” and “Back Home in Bristol”. The former gets a folkier treatment, while the later showcases The Dreadnoughts cider-punk.
“Foreign Skies” was released last November 10, but a second album called “Foreign Skies.B-Sides” was issued last January 10. That digital only album includes “4 songs that weren’t good enough to make “Foreign Skies”! But, ya know, they’re still pretty good“.
Don’t forget to watch “Stoked”“a film Adam PW Smith finished a little while ago that shows The Dreadnoughts in all their glory. It features photos and footage from the past ten years (and some great stories), as well as a bit about the new record.” (You’ll find the video below)
01. Up High 04:09
02. Foreign Skies 05:02
03. Daughters of the Sun 04:55
04. The Amiens Polka 02:50
05. The Bay of Suvla 02:23
06. Anna Maria 04:46
07. Jericho 02:05
08. Black and White 02:32
09. Gavrilo 04:36
10. A Broken World (feat. Zoey Exley) 01:44
11. Black Letters 03:59
12.Back Home in Bristol 04:03
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Review by Kinksmarkham