Its takes a lot to knock me off guard but getting a message of someone you consider a genuine musical hero will certainly do that.
Earlier this week we received a message from Canadian Celtic Punk Legend, The Mahones frontman and founder Finny McConnell saying would we like to hear the new album and of course we said yes! Online star stuck isn’t something I have experienced before now but its currently hitting me pretty hard.
The Mahones have been going for since 1990 and this year release their 13th Studio album “Love + Death + Redemption.” Originally planned to be the first of 4 releases this year but they may not all be out due to the pushing back of the release from January to July. The album will be released through their own label Whiskey Devil Records this month and was produced by Finny himself.
“Love + Death + Redemption” was written for and dedicated to Finny’s late Mother Annie McConnell-Strong.
The album kicks off with “I’m alive (Save me)” a 5 and a bit minute massively anthemic opener that stomps through and really sets the tone of trying to find a way to deal with the loss of a loved one. It also features the massively powerful voice of Priya Panda from Diemonds that really stand out.
“Heroes die” and “It’s gonna be alright” feel like the two ways of approaching crisis and reassuring yourself. The first seeming like a more chaotic panic and then into calming yourself down to readjust. Basically the punk and the folk sides of The Mahones on show in purer forms. Incredible songs that could bring a tear to the toughest amongst you.
“Never let you Down” features the amazing voice of Sarah Harmer and has some genuinely wonderful tin whistle through out the song that really carries it. Probably my favourite track of the album.
Track 5 “Mother, My Angel” again has a massively almost stadium rock quality with huge spiralling solos from most of the band and the vocals seem to be sung away from the microphones and low down in the mix of the song. Not quite the usual Mahones that you might have been expecting.
“When Ye Go Away” is a cover of The Waterboys track by the same name. Possibly a touch faster than the original but generally stay close to the original while still sounding like it could have always been a Mahones song.
“Win some, Lose some” is the full force punk track that you may well have come to expect from The Mahones. Finny takes a step back from vocals and guitarist Sean Ryan takes the lead. Showing they have not stopped being a punk band for this album its just taking a back seat.
Well when I saw “Heroes” on the track list I wasn’t expecting a Bowie cover. The song gives me goosebumps every time and this version is no exception. It fits perfectly into the album and with a song this big hold a massive task of making it your own. Wonderful!
“Angels” is the last of the original Mahones tracks on the album. Similar sounding to “Mother, My Angel” but again different to what you may be expecting from the band.
The album as a whole does shy away from the tradition Mahones sound, but it was written from a different place possibly still in Canada but emotionally distant from having a great night on the lash and getting some great song from it.
The album concludes with a haunting rendition of “The Fields of Athenry” featuring Damhnait Doyle splitting responsibilities on vocals. I’ve heard, well God only knows how many versions of this song but hand on heart this may well be the best of them.
“Love + Death + Redemption” is an instant classic. Overflowing with passion and the most fitting of tribute to the driving force of The Mahones of the past and the inspiration of The Mahones of the future. Absolutely brilliant buy it as soon as you can. Available everywhere next week.
– Elliott (Mersey Celt Punks)