Release Date: March 14, 2013
Run Time: 58:02
2. 21 blackjack
3. Sraka Dupa
4. Rather Die Than Forget
5. Next Sunday We´ll Be Back Again
6. The Way back home
7. With Head Held High
8. The American Dream
9. Hate cannot be Forever
10. At The Counter Bar
11. My childhood dreams
12. Fancy Prankster
13. Johnny Techno Ska
14. Lurfy el payaso
When reviewing an album, it can often become too easy to simply compare what you’re reviewing and the content of it to works previously published by other artists. This is especially true in the Celtic punk field. For as many talented and intelligent songwriters as there are in the genre out there, most, if not all of the current batch can be traced back to The Pogues, who can be traced back to The Dubliners with a Sex Pistols kick. I’m not saying every Celtic punk band in the scene today is trying to be The Pogues, or even likes The Pogues, but chances are the artists that inspired them inspired, or were inspired to some degree by The Pogues. Therefore it can be a challenge to write a review that doesn’t simply become a game of ‘the seven degrees of Kevin Bacon’ or a list of bands that have songs that sound similar.
This isn’t always a bad thing though. Often it will greatly benefit the reader to learn a new band has a sound like a band the reader loves. Or an old band put out a record that sounds a hell of a lot like this other record they’ve always been a fan of. This can help inform the reader as to whether shelling out his hard earned samolians is a worthy cause for this particular setlist.
That and the try before you buy feature on iTunes.
In the case of Toledo’s Spanish barnstormers, The Fatty Farmers, and this particular review, I must take the latter course. I can not and will not even try to describe this band to you without referring to some glaringly obvious kinships its sound shares with some well known punkers (and gypsies):
First and foremost, Rodrigo Farmer: Singer, banjo, electric mandolin, sounds exactly like a perfect vocal mixture of Flogging Molly’s Dave King, and Gogol Bordello’s maniacal Frontman Eugene Hutz.
It’s uncanny actually and surprising how well those two distinct vocal personalities gel. Rodrigo even looks a bit like Eugene, like a son, or a brother. Another aspect of similarity to the Molly’s are the songs themselves. They often have a very ‘Within A Mile of Home’ or ‘Float’-like ring to them.
Whether this was intentional or not doesn’t really matter in the swing of things as the Fatty’s sound this way seldom enough to dodge being labeled ‘another Flogging Molly’ rather than a beast unto themselves.
You may not think a band who call themselves The Fatty Farmers and name their sophomore release Refarmatory is a band who take themselves too seriously. Maybe they don’t, but though a rowdy group of Guinness swilling, fun loving Spaniards they may be, the quality of their music and the level of their musicianship is anything but a joke. Refarmatory is filled to the tip o’ the silo with tight, energetic, razor sharp Celtic punk rock delivered with a joyous mood and reckless abandon.
The album kick off ‘No More Woman You’ll Kill’ (I can only assume that’s a rough translation of a more lucid Spanish phrase) is a swimming, catchy track that I think is speaking against spousal abuse? (The accents are thick and the translation is..interesting at times) While 21 Blackjack offers up a familiar sounding shanty that hits hard and is virtually impossible to keep from bopping your head to.
‘The Way Back Home’ pulsates within the listeners mind visions of a gale force sea wind biting and gnashing at the side of a modest boat, carrying fisherman trying to
get home. The tone is at times melancholy, at others frantic, but a boat filled with sea scarred, experienced fisherman wouldn’t panic at a hefty wind, even as they doubt the vessel’s ability to withstand it.
‘At the Counter Bar’ has a kiss of polka in its madness while ‘Francy Prankster’ and ‘Johnny Techno Ska’ are as fun as they sound and I can only imagine will be ripping up the dance floor at many a rowdy Toledo wedding for years to come. Finally, the untitled bonus track has some more of that gypsy flavored polka desperation tugging it along, bringing to a halt the grand circus that is Refarmatory.
This is high quality, high energy polka inflected Celtic punk that can veer a little closely at times to a well known group that starts with an F and ends with an Olly, but what The Fatty Farmers do with it, they do well. Expect this release to catch fire.