2018-04-24 ALBUM REVIEW – ALTERNATIVE ULSTER "Pog Mo Thoin" (2018)

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Alternative Ulster “Pog Mo Thoin”
Release date: February 11, 2018
Running time: 32:52, 13 tracks


Alternative Ulster (MK II) is John McGovern aka Johnny Piper on bagpipes, bass and backing vocals, Todd Henry on lead vocals and drums and Jay Andersen on guitars and bass. They released “Pog Mo Thoin” in February and the album has got rave reviews from England, the USA and even from Australia.

Thirteen tracks are delivered in 33 minutes, 2 traditional numbers and 11 self-penned songs. Johnny has written the lyrics to the originals, while the three band members have written the music. The songs blend bits of trad. bagpipes tunes, Jay’s guitars and Todd’s raw vocals. The first number is the title track and the band’s calling card. Fans will be familiar with the pipe tune, as it was also used by Dropkick Murphys in “Wicked Sensitive Crew“. “Drunk as Fuck” is a tribute to all the band’s heroes: The Go Set, The Real McKenzies, Dropkick Murphys, Shane McGowan and The Mahones. “Krampus” is a standout number with great lyrics. “Guetto Piper” features the well-known football chant “Olé Olé”. The backing vocals have a drunk monks singing sound on “Irish Wake”.

A bad joke becomes a drunk man’s nightmare on “Free Beer Tomorrow” and “Haggis” is an ode to the national dish of Scotland. It’s followed by “Self-appointed Kilt Inspector”, an amazing song featuring “Gravel Walk” and one of the best lyrics on the CD. “Ladies from Hell” is another highlight featuring “Atholl Highlanders”.

As far as the trad. songs are concerned, I have mixed feelings. “Sgt. McKenzie” is brilliant, but, IMHO, the vocals on “Paddy’s Green Shamrock Shore” ruin the song.

Pog Mo Thoin” is a raw album. The sound is rough at the edges; however the pipes shine everywhere. The album can be bought from Bandcamp, where the lyrics to all of the songs are available too. 


Track listing:

01 – Pog mo Thoin 1:45
02 – Drunk as Fuck 1:47
03 – This Shall We Defend 1:24
04 – Paddy’s Green Shamrock Shore 2:50
05 – Krampus 2:33
06 – Ghetto Piper 2:52
07 – Irish Wake 2:53
08 – Free Beer Tomorrow 2:00
09 – Haggis 2:04
10 – Self-apointed Kilt Inspector 2:33
11 – Stairway to Reason 2:36
12 – Ladies from Hell 3:31
13 – Sgt. McKenzie 3:58

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Review by Kinksmarkham


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