I Just spent about 24 hours with ANGELS AND DEVILS the new album from THE MAHONES. On a first listen it’s obvious that the album continues on in the hard edged Celtic Punk direction of The Black Irish though the sound on ANGELS AND DEVILS is just huge; a reflection of time and money spent in Montreal’s best studio. The other thing I immediately noticed is the big dirty guitars with my mind immediately jumping to The Replacements and Husker Du.
The easiest way for me to do a review is a track-by-track summary, so here yah go………
Shakespeare Road – A big sounding autobiographical Celtic punk epic about Finny’s time living in a London squat and playing in a punk band back in the 80’s with his infamous cousin Rory. While the screen doors ain’t flapping in the wind on Shakespeare Road they would be if the doors hadn’t been kicked in and the windows smashed.
Angel and Devils, the title track (obviously) is an in your face Celtic punk rocker with some familiar Mahones melodies; a tribute to the scene.
Spanish Lady, a hyper kinetic cover of the Irish standard. Finny’s growling voices duels with the Murphy’s helium sucking Ken Casey. I believe this is the 1st time Ken has guested on anyone elses album.
Medley : Cruel Of Turf / The Pigeon On The Gate / The Battle Of Aughrim – a Celtic punk instrumental that sounds like The Chieftains broke into the Brixton squat on Shakespeare Road, sniffed some glue and started playing – maniac.
Angel Without Wings / Merry Christmas Baby – A big sounding ballad sort of Fairy tale Of New York meets Girl With Galway Eyes/Little Bit Of Love. Great track but not sure if it works in the album’s running order.
The Waiting picks up the pace again. A strong sing along with a SLF feel which maybe is because SLFs Jake Burns guests on guitars.
The King Of Copenhagen, now we’re sucking diesel and The Mahones are ripping up a storm up and down the Autobahns.
Past The Pint Of Now Return is fast, punkie and fokie with The Mahones re-live the high jinks – scratch that – drunk debauchery of their recent German tour and at the mention of the Dropkick Murphys a voice familiar from Spanish Lady jumps in to honor the ghost of Brendan Bean.
Medley : The Connaught Man’s Rambles / Christmas Eve Reels / Johnny’s On Fire – the fecking Chieftains ain’t moving and its 4 in the morning and they have polished off the Carlsberg Special Brew and Poitín- feckin’maniac!
Whiskey Train, a Mahones album would not be complete without a song with Whiskey in the title. This time it’s a Whiskey train they are riding it Johnny Cash on Paddy Whiskey style through Belfast – No Bushmills here, Finny is a good Catholic bhoy and wouldn’t touch any of that heathen filth.
The Revolution Starts Now, takes up the political cudgel of Blood Is On Your Hands, my favorite track on Black Irish, and starts pounding again.
Makes No Sense At All slows down the pace, just a touch and is reminiscent of the Here Comes Lucky period Mahones meets Husker Du……..just informed it is actually a Husker Du cover from 1985’s Flip Your Wig.
The album finishes with a bonus track, Tin Soldiers, a fantastic Stiff Little Fingers cover
20 plus years in the game and The Mahones sill got it, they manage to keep thing fresh yet keep the old fans happy. Is Angel and Devils the Mahones finest album? Hard to answer, that’s kind of like asking a parent who their favorite child is but let’s say this child is getting a shiny new bike this Christmas.