Celtic punk and Scandinavia doesn’t immediately seem to be the most likely of combinations, but it’s a part of the world that has brought us the likes of Sir Reg, Finnegan’s Hell and the legendary Greenland Whalefishers, so it’s safe to say that the region is producing some top quality bands. One that has somehow managed to fly under our radar is Sweden’s Black Anenome, until now.
Their second album, “In It For Life”, has been described by the band themselves as a tribute to the love of simply playing music, playing live and bringing good times to the masses, and it shows. 8 slices of high-energy, raucous celtic-punk that will have you swigging and jigging along with a fist in the air and a smile on your face. The opener “Freedom And For All” comes flying out of the traps and sets the standard for the rest of album to follow, frontman Mattias’ vocals are up there with the best the scene has to offer, sounding like elements of Shane MacGowan, Al Barr and Frankie McLaughlin all rolled into one. The musicianship from the rest of the band is superb throughout the album, with guitars, banjo, accordion and mandolin blending perfectly together to create a sound that’s up there with the very best of the genre. Even though it’s a short runtime, the album sways effortlessly between more traditionally folky tracks like “Ambers Point” and “Every Dog Has It’s Day” to the punkier tracks like the titular “In It For Life” and “Hellhounds On My Back”, never compromising the energy and obvious enjoyment to shine through each note and beat.
What highlights the enormous talent of the nine-piece, however, is the cover of “Drunken Sailor” halfway through the record. It’s not that it’s my outright favourite, but it’s one of those covers that could be dismissed as a lazy addition as it’s so well known. Not so with Black Anenome. They absolutely own their version, injecting an urgency into it that makes it still seem fresh and new. That takes some doing in my opinion. Add a brilliant cover of the Irish folk standard “Banks Of The Roses” as an album closer and you’ve got one cracker of a record that is more than worthy of your attention (if it isn’t already).
Mea Culpa, Black Anenome. You’re definitely on our radar now.
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