The excellently named Smokey Bastard are a folk punk band from Reading who have served up a treat of an album with their latest release “Tales From The Wasteland”. The seven piece of Macca (Vocals / Guitar / Mandolin), Mike (Vocals / Bass), Matt (Guitars / Banjo), Nick (Accordion / Mandolin), Andy (Tin Whistle / Guitars / Banjo), Buttons (Drums) and Aled (Banjo / Mandolin) have followed up 2010’s “Propping Up The Floor” in fine style with the ten tracks available here.
As with many albums of this genre each song seems to be a tale, and mostly one of woe and misadventure, with each of the songs relating to life in general. There is also more than a nod to a nautical side in some of the tracks on here, including ‘My Son John’ and ‘Boatepitaph’ which are reminiscent of old sea shanties. ‘Mong Some Hoof’ is named after a game where you had to kick your shoe off your foot and catch it in your mouth. ‘Dear Mol’ is an ode to a broken relationship while ‘Bad Reception’ reminds you of every bad wedding you may have had the misfortune to attend.
This band provide a link between The Pogues and The Dropkick Murphys. Whilst not being quite as loud as Boston’s finest, they prove with the likes of the cover of Abba classic ‘Mamma Mia’ (that closes the album) that they are more than prepared for some chaos when its needed. They are aimed more towards the folk side than punk musically, but it perfectly fits the description on the press release of ‘a bastardized mix of Flogging Molly and Bellowhead.’
Was gutted to find out that I had just missed seeing this band live, as I can imagine a booze soaked night of fun, but I shall definitely remedy this next time they tour. Musically, the band are extremely proficient and manage to inject a large dose of humour into a genre which can often be gripped by the darker side of life. Smokey Bastard are in a good place as they have pitched themselves in a place where they could find themselves drawing a large crowd at a rock or folk festival. These are definitely a band worth looking out for and an album worth listening to. With the two sides to the bands sound, there will be a lot of people that would enjoy this.