Paddy and the Rats, From Wasteland To Wonderland (Napalm Records 2022)

Pirate polka punks Paddy and the Rats hit the high seas again for new adventures on From Wasteland To Wonderland.

Formed around 2008 in Hungary, Paddy and the Rats plays a type of polka punk you might expect to hear from Irish exile bands, with a specific and deliberate focus on a shanty vibe. The band is big, and it needs to be with all the instruments deployed: Paddy O’Reilly (vocals, guitar), Sam McKenzie (fiddle, bagpipe, banjo, whistles), Bernie Bellamy (accordion), Joey MacOnkay (guitar), Vince Murphy (bass), and Seamus Conelly (drums). From Wasteland To Wonderland is the band’s sixth full-length album, and it is the crest of the wave.

There are thirteen rousing tunes on the new record, appropriately beginning with “Wasteland” and ending with “Wonderland.” The opener is up-tempo and peppily scored with catchy refrains and a sing along chorus. The music is guitar driven, but there is so much more going on you can lose track of that aspect, and if you do it is because the rest is so enchanting. “Ship Will Sail” comes next in the set, and, if anything, it is more on brand than the first song. Truly, when I think of Paddy and the Rats, this is this song that will pop in my head first.

“After The Rain” and “Everybody Get Up” were released earlier as singles, and “Party Like a Pirate” was the lead at the street date for the album. The entire album is very much party music so that fits right in. There are a few slower songs, but mostly these are ale-pounding anthems. If you want to get in a good mood or if you are already in a good mood and you want to keep it rolling, this is the album for you. Recommended.

From Wasteland To Wonderland is out now through Napalm Records.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://paddyandtherats.bandcamp.com/

Website, https://www.paddyandtherats.hu/

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/paddyrats

Napalm Records, https://label.napalmrecords.com/paddy-and-the-rats/

© Wayne Edwards

Paddy and the Rats, From Wasteland To Wonderland (Napalm Records 2022)

Pillaging Villagers, Pillaging Villagers (2022)

If you are looking for high-energy drinking music for an enraged mob, you can stop at Pillaging Villagers.

Pillaging Villagers was created entirely by David Frazer. He brought in session musicians Jason Hirt (drums), Brian Koenig (guitar), and Adam Tucker (bass) to commit the ideas to indelible digital in the studio. The press release for the album puts it this way: “Merging the punk-influenced aggressiveness of crossover thrash with the Celtic melodies of folk metal, the ‘peasant metal’ of Pillaging Villagers takes the listener on a journey to a medieval world of pitchfork-wielding rebellion where songs of victory and sorrow alike are belted out with tankards raised high.” Whoever wrote that description deserves a tip because it really makes me want to hear the music. What in the world could this be?

“Wretched Of The Earth” has a hooky opening riff followed by growling vocals and a chorus that sounds like something you might hear from an homogenized Irish exile band. It is very odd. I like all the elements and I am trying to put them together in my head. They are not necessarily disparate, but neither are they necessarily cohesive. “We Remember” lays similar tread, turned up a notch. “The Count” adds an eerie key passage (reminiscent of John Carpenter) while maintaining pace. By now you start to get the hang of what is going on. I can’t say that it is completely understood but the structure has revealed itself to the point where everything is no longer a complete surprise.

Most of the songs are quite short, typically under three minutes. The exception is “The Crisis,” running over eight minutes. Compared to its fellows, this song begins dirge-like. It has a longer narrative arc, unsurprisingly, and the vocals are in a more relaxed mode, at least for time. The landscape does rise and fall during the extended journey, and in the end all these different looks were very appealing as sequenced. Excellent.

There are twelve tracks in all. Look for big singalong choruses and killer riffs around every corner. I haven’t heard anything else quite like this. The way the pieces are put together is fascinating. It is a unique accomplishment. Recommended.

Pillaging Villagers is out on Friday, March 11th. Bandcamp is the easy snag.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://pillagingvillagers.bandcamp.com/album/pillaging-villagers

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/pillagingvillagers

© Wayne Edwards. All rights reserved.

Pillaging Villagers, Pillaging Villagers (2022)