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Finnegan’s Hell “Live and Death” Heptown Records HTR076
Release date: February 23, 2018
Running time: 38:29, 13 tracks
Finnegan’s Hell decided to take it easy and then their sophomore CD is going to be released almost four years after their debut album. This time there are no covers. Although the lyrics to “Isn’t it Grand Boys?” are traditional, all the music has been written by the band or by Pabst and/or Mick. 12 tracks about losers, workers and “different” people. The title is clear: “Life and Death” and Finnegan’s Hell have felt that a minute of silence was compulsory at the end of the album.
There are no experiments on “Life and Death”, but straightforward Celtic punk. Finnegan’s Hell is a well-oiled machine and the songs have been tested and played live during 4 years. Almost half of the songs are based on the banjo and the accordion sounds and the other half on the tin whistle and the accordion sounds.
First of all, I review the songs where the tin whistle can be heard and secondly the ones on which the banjo can be heard. “Shane MacGowan’s Grave” was not chosen as single, but it’s one of the standout tracks on the album and will soon become a classic song on the band’s repertoire. Upbeat song with a kick ass tune at the end. “Cursed” has a catchy chorus and it’s one of my fave tracks too. “How Am I to Make it?” is a fantastic fast-paced cut about a loser. “Whatcha gonna do?” is the closing number. It has the Finnegan’s Hell’s classic sound and some gang vocals, but I prefer the previous numbers.
As told before, Finnegan’s Hell have put new music to “Isn’t it Grand Boys”. Most of the song sound as some monks singing backed by the banjo. But after the song comes to its end, there is a badass banjo led tune.
“All In”, another song about a loser, has some banjo and gang vocals à la Dropkick Murphys. I’ve particularly enjoyed the lyrics to “Rude Awakening” (all the lyrics to the song can be found on the 28 page booklet). “The Bastard Son” is a hypnotic number that I have also loved. “Paradise Town” is probably the catchiest song on “Life and Death”. I understand why the guys made a video for this anthem. “One-Horse Town” is an excellent rocking number. I’ve also appreciated the lyrics to this song, since they remind me of The Men They Couldn’t Hang “Company Town”. “Dance Upon Your Grave” has a Velvet Underground sounding intro, but soon the song burst into a fast-paced Celtic punk number featuring guest Carl Nyqvist on fiddle.
“Coal Mine” was the first single off “Life and Death”. I must admit that I didn’t enjoy this song with a reggae vibe. However, the song has grown on me. Accordion and banjo are played all along the song, but the tin whistle is also played in the middle. Great lyrics that obviously remind me of The Whisky Priests earlier stuff, for instance, “The Colliery”.
I don’t like Ikea, but I enjoy Swedish TV series, crimes novels and Celtic punk bands. Finnegan’s Hell are really a solid band and both music and lyrics are top-notch on this CD. Therefore, “Life and Death” is a well-balanced album. Thanks to their label Heptown Records for chosing the right date for the release of the album. A plethora of CDs will be released on St. Patrick’s Day and that will make us difficult to pay attention to all of them.
02 – All In 2:27
03 – Cursed 3:11
04 – Rude Awakening 2:50
05 – The Bastard Son 3:04
06 – Paradise Town 3:01
07 – How am I to make it? 2:10
08 – Coal Mine 2:49
09 – Isn’t it Grand Boy? 3:46
10 – One-Horse Town 3:43
11 – Dance Upon Your Grave 2:34
12 – Whatcha Gonna Do? 3:52
13 – A Minute of Silence 1:00