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2017-05-03 ALBUM REVIEWS – SELFISH MURPHY "Broad Jump" (2016) and SELFISH MURPHY "Another Fork in the Road" (2017)

Selfish Murphy “Broad Jump” (2016)
Release date: March 2016
Running time: 29:41, 9 tracks

Selfish Murphy are a 5 piece band from Sfântu Gheorghe, Romania (Sepsiszentgyörgy in Hungarian, their mother tongue). The band was established in 2011 and their line-up has always been based around Csiki Zoltán (lead vocals, accordion and producer), Pusztai Lehel (flute and whistles) and Martinka János (bass). They are touring regularly Europe and fans are already familiar with their versions of Irish pub standards and pop songs. Videos for those songs are available at their YouTube page. Their discography was mainly a bunch of mini-albums/EPs. “Cheers!” (2011, 7 tracks) was full of standards and a couple of Bob Dylan and Flogging Molly covers. “One Beer is No Beer” (2012, 6 tracks) was an acoustic album and included their self-penned song “Scottish Song”. “With or Without Us” (2014, 3 tracks) had two standards and a rendition of U2With or Without You”, while “Dirty Bang” (2015, 5 tracks) included another original, “Drinking Song”, two Avicii covers and two standards.

Broad Jump” was their debut album and was released for St. Patrick’s Day last year. I got it at the end of 2016 and it was ranked at the Best of 2016. However, I was not able to write a review before the end of 2016. The five boys have just released a new album and I thought that it would be fair to review both albums now.

There are 4 standards and 5 originals on “Broad Jump”. Regarding the standards, the best one would be the opening track “Molly Malone”. The flute arrangement are top-notch and the percussion kicks ass too. There are “yee-has” and “heys” shouts, some banjo backing the flute and powerful electric guitar. “I’ll Tell Me Ma” has an acoustic beginning and then the full band joins. There is whistle and accordion and a ska beat à la Fiddler’s Green. Selfish Murphy have added “When the Saints Go Marching in” just before an electric end and the final result is very interesting. “The Black Velvet Band” begins with acoustic guitar and then the song burst into a Celtic rock number showcasing guitars and accordion. There is some ska parts too. The cover of “The Fields of Athenry” is based on the Dropkick Murphys’ rendition and unfortunately Selfish Murphy have not added something new.

As far as the original numbers are concerned, Selfish Murphy have done a great job: catchy choruses and metal influences can be found everywhere, apart from Lehel’s amazing whistling. “Barleycorn” is a fantastic folk-metal song. “Touch the Sky” is an excellent Firkin meets Dexy’s Midnight Runners number. “Scottish Song” is revisited: it gets an upbeat treatment with ea-ea-ea-oh chorus, banjo backing and Lehel’s addictive flute, together with some heys. “Ireland’s So Far Away” has a traditional feel at the beginning, thanks to the tin whistle, acoustic guitar and percussion. Strong guitars back the tin whistle at the end of the song. Selfish Murphy know how to write catchy songs and the proof is the last cut, “Back from the Ocean”. The woahs and the bouzouki open the path for a badass Celtic punk number that reminds me again of the mighty Firkin.

Broad Jump” got the 31st slot at the Best of 2016. Don’t be misled. The album was not ranked higher, because I give priority to albums based on original compositions. Anyway, Selfish Murphy’s self-penned songs are really good on “Broad Jump” and their covers of standards are appealing too.

Track listing:

1 – Molly Malone
2 – Barleycorn
4 – The Fields Of Athenry
5 – Scottish Song
6 – I’ll Tell Me Ma
7 – Ireland’s So Far Away
8 – The Black Velvet Band
9 – Back from the Ocean

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Review by Kinksmarkham

Selfish Murphy “Another Fork in the Road” (2017)
Release date: March 16, 2017
Running time: 34:34, 11 tracks

Another Fork in the Road” is Selfish Muphy’s sophomore album. Once again, the album was ready for St. Patrick’s Day. This time, the 5 Romanian guys have written a lot of original stuff. There’s no banjo and the accordion has a bigger role. Moreover, Selfish Murphy have followed the likes of Nevermind Nessie or Uncle Bard and The Dirty Bastards: some songs include well-known traditional tunes.

There are only two standards, Ewan MacColl’s “Dirty Old Town” and the “Morrison’s Jig”.  “Dirty Old Town” is the closing number and it kicks off with accordion and drums. As usual, Selfish Murphy give the song a catchy treatment with some lah-loh-lah-loh-lah shouts and a powerful drumming.

The “Morrison’s Jig” has been played by almost every band in the Celtic punk scene. Nevertheless, I must admit that Selfish Murphy have really worked on the arrangements. Therefore, the final result is amazing: a Jethro Tull infused flute and a folk metal approach based on the electric instruments.

Regarding the self-penned stuff, “Drunken Bastards” is a lively number with a Firkin twist. Great tin whistle performance and catchy hey backing vocals to sing-along. “Drink and Sing” is another highlight. Rocking guitars and upbeat tin whistle on a number that reminds me of Kilkenny Knights’ best moments.

As I’ve previously mentioned, some cuts include well-known traditional tunes. The opening song, “Dancing”, gets a folk metal treatment with some woahs and a “Cooley’s Reel” with a ska accordion.  “Love is Like a Bird” features accordion and whistle. The tune that has been chosen is “The Kesh”. The song ends up slowly with a waltz feel. “Pirates of the Road” is an awesome track. Na-na-nas, woahs, a traditional tune and an Indonesian Celtic punk twist.

Bad Girl” is a lively song. “Harder Than Life” will grow on you after some spins. And “Good Dream” showcases the band’s poppier end together with “Old Erica”.

It’s clear that Selfish Murphy are looking for fun and all their songs are intended for the shows. They master the studio, but in the end all of the songs have a live atmosphere. In other words, “Another Fork in the Road” is an interesting and enjoyable album.

Track listing:

01 – Dancing 4:11
02 – Drunken Bastards 2:27
03 – Pirates Of The Road 3:42
04 – Bad Girl 2:43
05 – Harder Than Life 3:33
06 – Good Dream 2:40
07 – Old Erica 2:40
08 – Drink And Sing 2:32
09 – Morrison’s Jig 2.22
10 – Love Is Like A Bird 3:04
11 – Dirty Old Town 3:36


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Review by Kinksmarkham


Rated 4.5/5 based on 621 customer reviews

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