Release date: September 30, 2016
Running time: 55:54, 16 tracks
I’ve been a SMZB fan since I came across them on the internet in 2008. “Ten Years Rebellion” is a classic bagpipes punk album and their following release, “Sin Harmony”, was the best Celtic punk album in my list for 2012 . When they released “A Letter from China” in 2014, I felt that it was very good, but some of the freshness had gone away. If was afraid that the magic was gone, but I was wrong. I found a link to an article at the band’s Wikipedia and there is a sentence at the end that is very clear: “I like our new album (“A Letter from China”),” he (Wu Wei) says demurely. “But we will record a new record next year called The Chinese is Coming that I really love.” And I must admit that “The Chinese Are Coming” is an amazing come back.
“The Chinese are Coming” is a long album, as there are 16 tracks and the running time is around 56 minutes. However, there are no fillers and you’ll feel that the album is actually shorter than it is. The opening track “Intro” is a badass instrumental featuring pipes and percussion. It’s followed by “Ten Thousand Ways to Rebel”, a kick-ass song à la Dropkick Murphys via Bastards on Parade: more pipes, catchy woah choruses, oi! shouts and the whole lot. (You can watch the video for this song here )
The next number is the title track, “The Chinese Are Coming”. There is also a video for this song. This is the Chinese version and it’s one of the best songs on the album: perfect gang vocals, brilliant tin whistle by Tang and excellent banjo by Tudou.
Track no. 4 is called “Born in the PRC”. Apart from tin whistle and banjo, there is electric guitar, some trumpet that gives the song an early Billy Bragg twist, and some kids singing that make me think of The Clash “Career Opportunities” on the “Sandinista!” album. Awesome.
“Road to Petition” is an upbeat banjo driven song with a ska-punk vibe and “Generation” has a cow punk feel because of the banjo. Some standout numbers arrive after those tracks: “Flower to Socialism” and “Sunny Speculation”. Both tracks move to the Rancid end and feature the classic sound of the band based on tin whistle.
More addictive banjo and trumpet can be heard on “One Night in Prison”, a song with a dancing beat featuring accordion. “Welcome to China” has a ska beat and a musical “fight” between electric guitar and tin whistle.
SMZB come back to the Rancid territory on “The Chinese Are Coming Again”. Together with the excellent tin whistle, there is fiddle and great bass playing too.
Girl/boy vocals on “Colonial Trip” a Flogging Molly infused song with banjo and trumpet. Interesting.
“Tattoo the Earth” is reminiscent of The Pogues “Tuesday Morning”. Once again, Tudou and Tang do a great job on banjo and pipes.
SMZB give the Bob Marley’s classic song “Redemption Song” a fast-paced bagpipes treatment. BTW, the late Joe Strummer (RIP 22 December 2002) recorded another top-notch rendition with the Mescaleros.
“Song of the Seagull” is a rad song. It kicks off with an acoustic guitar and the sound is a little bit Mexican / spaghetti western. Then, a girl sings backed by a piano. After this poignant part, the song bursts into a tin whistle led Celtic punk anthem. Further information about this song can be found on the YouTube video .
The bonus track is the English version of the title track, “The Chinese Are Coming”.
“The Chinese are Coming” has been released in 2016, the year that marks the band’s 20th Anniversary. I’m pretty sure that Wu Wei and his mates will keep on releasing brilliant albums in the following years. Remember that this album can be purchased from Bandcamp, so please go there and buy a legal copy. There’s no excuse, do yourself a favour and add this album to your collection.
01. Intro 01:34
02. Ten Thousand Ways To Rebel 03:09
03. The Chinese Are Coming (Chinese version) 03:49
04. Born In The PRC 03:13
05. Road To Petition 02:15
06. Generation 03:19
07. Flower Of The Socialism 03:04
08. Sunny Speculation 02:50
09. One Night In Prison 04:49 video
10. Welcome To China 02:46
11. The Chinese Are Coming Again 03:05
12. Colonial Trip 03:40
13. Tattoo The Earth 02:57
14. Redemption Song 03:06
15. Song Of The Seagull 07:51
16. The Chinese Are Coming (English version) 03:49
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Review by Kinksmarkham