‘Charge!’ from The Monster Celidh Band - bizarre and intriguing directions(November 18, 2013)
‘Charge!’ definitely does not fit into the standard ‘cup of folk tea’ bracket, indeed many folkies, trad or otherwise, will find this album about as endearing as a cup of hemlock … but that’s their problem. The Monster Celidh Band bring yet another fusion to folk with electronic effects and drum ‘n’ bass power grafted onto traditional accordion and fiddle-led dance tunes. The energy is persistent, the performance uncompromising, the meld inimitable and if your feet remain still then someone has nailed your shoes to the floor.
I first encountered their genre-busting, tradition-frightening brand of folk with their first studio album ‘Mechanical Monster’. Now with a string of festival standing-ovations and legions of wiped-out, exhausted audiences to their credit they release their second studio album ‘Charge!’ From the surge of opening energies with ‘Vralkada’ and the superbly titled ‘80’s Ferret’ through the slightly less frenetic ‘Anti-Gravity’ and ‘Mr.G’ to the multi-layered live version of ‘Gyto’ and ‘Alien Forces’ this leads folk in unfamiliar, bizarre and intriguing directions.
As stated earlier, ‘Charge!’ is not for everyone, but for me it’s yet another injection of excitement for folk music. That doesn’t mean chucking out the baby with the bathwater and neither is it tearing down tradition with some permanently pissed-off wave of post-punk angst. No, this is yet one more vibrant bud emerging from one of the folk tree’s many and eclectic branches. It means 'go with the flow'.
The Monster Celidh Band are: accordion-maestro Amy Thatcher, Scottish Borders fiddler Carly Blain, mandocello-monster KieranSzifris, dub-heavy electric bassist David de la Haye and drummer/ beats programmer Joe ‘The Touch‘ Truswell. Find them here: monsterceilidhband.co.uk
Reviewer: Tim Carroll