Whiskey of the Damned 'Monsters Are Real' album review

By Joy Perrone,
Author Rating: 
4.0 Stars - Very Good

If you aren’t plugged into the Irish music scene, you probably haven’t heard of Whiskey of the Damned , an independent Celtic rock band based in Milwaukee. Their first album, Monsters Are Real, released Saint Patrick’s Day 2014, is a crazy, high-energy CD that will have you dancing out of your seat.

The band is composed of five members, who all play more than one instrument and contribute as vocalists. Dublin-born lead vocalist Eoin McCarthy also plays guitar and bagpipes, Fiddler Gina Romantini also plays the mandolin, Matt Schuetz does bass guitar and the drums, Andrew David Weber does the drums and “various other instruments” and Brian Link rounds out the group with the accordion and the trombone.

The eclectic mix of instruments contributes to the band’s sound, which is inspired by American rock and punk bands as well as other Celtic rockers. Whiskey of the Damned has been compared to Flogging Molly, Dropkick Murphys and The Mahones.

Monsters Are Real is a balance of slow tracks - love song “Maria” or the duet between McCarthy and Romantini on the tender “When It All Comes Down” - and intense, frantic songs such as “Thumpkeg” and opener “Batons and Guns."

The album is full of surprises, mixing heartfelt lyrics with anthem choruses, and pop-culture references -- “Shutdown” contains a mention of Miley Cyrus’ twerking. The fiddle and the bagpipes are strong on many of the tracks, but veer neither into folksy or traditional genres, keeping the sound firmly in the rock category.

Each track has its own unique sound and flavor, and it’s easy to imagine many of the songs being featured on TV shows or in commercials due to their catchy, sing-a-long quality.

Keep your eye on this band. Whiskey of the Damned is sure to blow up the rock scene.

Favorite tracks: “Thumpkeg”, “Lucky One” and “Maria”

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