So I had a few drinks, raised the jolly roger and settled in to give the album a listen.
From the very start you can almost smell the sea and hear the creaking timbers as the ship sets sail with the first track ‘Wasteland’. As the title says,’From Wasteland to Wonderland’, you guessed it: the album ends with ‘Wonderland’. From the off your foot is tapping to the speedy Irish jig that erupts from the speakers. Mandolin and violin are the instruments to the fore in this rousing opener which clearly hints at the delights to come.
Swiftly following on is ‘Ship Will Sail’ which reinforces the nautical theme with its evocative chorus conjuring up images of salty old sea dogs sailing the seven seas in search of adventure and intent on having a bloody good time doing so!
“Through the stormy night
our ship will sail
Like a raging, rabid hound
I smell your trail
To the end of the world I’ll ride
For you, no place to hide
Till’ I hunt you down
Our ship will sail”
This leads nicely to the next track where we are heavily encouraged to ‘Party Like A Pirate’, which is a bizarre, funny, disco tinged number. To my British ears it sounds like something that would probably appear in the Eurovision Song Contest!
The mood changes somewhat for ‘After The Rain’ which is dedicated to accordion player Bernie Bellamy , who passed away at the start of 2022 before the album release. A sad song with a positive vibe and a haunting chorus which ends with the words “After the rain, sunshine will never be the same” which really brings home the pain the band are feeling after the loss of their friend.
The next few tracks seem a lot rockier. ‘Northern Lights’ chugs along quite nicely and has a great dirty sounding guitar riff in the middle. ‘Matadora’ is another foot tapper with a Balkan feel to it, which gets you moving. It even finds time to throw in a bit of mariachi brass, an interesting mix of styles which makes for a fun track.
‘Standing In The Storm’ slows things down again and is quite an atmospheric track with a haunting feel about about it. ‘Everybody Get Up’ ramps it up a notch again. A punky hip hop inspired number with a really catchy chorus and full of energy is ‘Hometown Kid’, a rocky lament to the singers past and how things were somehow better then.
“All I really need now is beer in my hands
At my hometown pub with all my friends
The fiddle plays our favourite songs
And we dance”
‘Heartbreaker’ and ‘Rumble Outta Here’ are straight up rock tracks and sound pretty damn good. This brings us to to the penultimate track, ‘The Last Hunt’. This is another highly atmospheric song that from a slow beginning builds into a raucous and highly enjoyable little number.
We finish with Wonderland, another emotional ballad which provides a fitting end to the album and quite a journey it has been.
All things considered this album is a good listen. It may not be the most original or groundbreaking album, but there are enough changes of style and pace to make it an interesting collection of songs. The majority of the songs are very catchy and I can imagine they would be well performed live.
- Music / Songwriting 8/10
- Vocals / Lyrics 9/10
- Mix / Production 9/10
- Artwork & Packaging 8/10
- Originality 7/10
A good selection of songs which are written and performed well. The production is excellent and there is an eclectic mix of instruments which lends a feeling of different styles to the tracks.
The material may not be the most original, but the subject matter reflected in the song lyrics is always interesting and strikes a chord with the listener.