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2016-11-27 ALBUM REVIEW – SHAMROCKS "Captain’s Log"

ShamRocks “Captain’s Log”
Release date: November 17, 2016
Running time: 37:29, 10 tracks + 1 bonus track

ShamRocks are Anatoliy Khomenko (mandolin, fiddle), Sergiy Khudoliy (accordion, vocals), Alexey Sletkov (drums, vocals) , Serge Vdovychenko (bass, vocals) and  Andrew Yakovenko (guitar). They are not a new band: some of their videos were featured on Celtic Folk Punk and More in September 2012    and their rendition of The PoguesWildcats of Kilkenny” was included on the recent “Tribute to The Pogues” album. In fact, ShamRocks were founded in 2009 and they would predate other well-known Ukrainians bands such as O’Hamsters and Pint of Stout.

Captain’s Log” is their debut album. ShamRocks have put together the best songs from their first demo to the latest studio recordings and they have been mixed and re-mastered through analog tape. The result is what they call Stout Rock. Not really a new definition, as Texan band Blaggards are already using the Stout Rock label from their very beginning.

All of the songs on “Captain’s Log” are covers, some of them traditional standards. Anyway, the ShamRocks approach is really interesting, as the songs have been given an unusual treatment. The most enjoyable tracks, IMHO would be the following ones:

The Blood of Cuchulainn” (from the “Boondock Saints OST“). ShamRocks have taken an Irish folk gem and have arranged it in a Celtic Rock way. Lots of hey , hey shouts and fantastic performances by accordionist, tin whistler, guitar player and rhythm section.

Kaalifornipolkka”. The tune kicks-off with an acoustic feel, the drums come in peacefully and the accordion gets in too. Then a metal sounding electric guitar sets the pace for the accordion. Taking into account the title, I thought that this number could be inspired on Californian band Tempest polkas. However, taking into account that the “Mission Impossible theme” can be heard, maybe it’s linked to Californian biggest industry too.

Lord of the Dance”. The approach is more electric than folk. Cutthroat vocals remind me of O’Hamsters singer. It’s the first song on the album featuring trumpet. Badass cover à la Beastie Boys.

The Rising of the Moon”. ShamRocks have merged this Irish rebel song with the Sex Pistols anthem “Anarchy in the UK” and the final result is bloody brilliant.

Wild Unicorns of Kilkenny”. This song can be originally found on the “Tribute to The Pogues” album and it’s an amazing rendition. Slightly different from the original, but recognizable.

Other songs on “Captain’s Log” are also worth hearing:

Leaving of Liverpool” starts with acoustic guitar and some drums. It evolves into a rockabilly number that burst into a ska song.

The Wild Rover” differs from the usual covers. ShamRocks have followed an Icewagon Flu approach in order to deliver an enjoyable rendition.

Bully in the Alley” is another ska cover version where trumpet can be heard.

Molly Malone”. Electric guitar plays a big role , but this time it’s not a metal sound. Awesome track featuring accordion too.

I’ve been asked not to reveal the bonus track. I’ll only say that it’s a song written by Jimmy McCarthy that was recorded by Christy Moore. It gets a jazzy treatment.

There is a Dropkick Murphys cover too, “I’m Shipping Up to Boston”. This is the song that new bands play, together with Flogging MollyDrunken Lullabies”, when they don’t have enough self-penned songs at their earlier stages. The ShamRocks cover is too respectful to the original. IMHO, it’s the least innovative number on the album, since the other songs have been re-arranged with gusto and this one is too close to the original.

ShamRocks have shown with “Captain’s Log” that they are able to offer something fresh and different on the Celtic punk territory. Their next step should be a sophomore album based on self-penned songs.

Track list:

01. The Blood Of Cuchulainn 02:16
02. Leaving Of Liverpool 03:40
03. I’m Shipping Up To Boston 03:11
04. Kaalifornipolkka 03:59
05. The Wild Rover 04:56
06. Lord Of The Dance 03:11
07. Bully In The Alley 03:09   
08. Molly Malone 02:31   
09. The Rising Of The Moon 04:24   
10. Wild Unicorns Of Kilkenny 02:27 

11. Bonus track 3:40


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Review by Kinksmarkham

Rated 4.5/5 based on 734 customer reviews

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