Lady Godiva, |
(Rock Up, 2003)
If you are a fan of rowdy Irish folk-rock and you have exhausted the supply of talent from Ireland, then look east, my friends -- to Germany. Now, before you squint your eyes and sneer, give me a chance to explain. The band Lady Godiva mixes Irish folk with a little ska, a little rock and a hint of polka to produce songs fit for a pub or a party. It just so happens that the men who make up this lady sing with a slight German accent, which some might say adds a unique element to Irish folk-rock.
Zooperation is the band's fourth CD release, and the 14 tracks are definitely filled with energy. The musicians give the impression they are serious about having fun when they play. Considering the band formed in March 1994 -- when the members didn't know how to sing or play their instruments -- they have come a long way! While the band has guitars, I would say that the lead instruments are the tin whistle and accordion. The most unexpected instrument, yet one that blends in surprisingly well, is the banjo. Overall, the music is the highlight of the CD. Unfortunately, the band can't sing -- the vocals are rather amateurish. For this style of music, however, lack of vocal talent is not a problem.
Lady Godiva is seven guys: Andreas Beckmann (vocals), Thomas Runker (tin whistle, vocals), Ingo Schwingheuer (guitar, banjo, mandolin), Christian Eickel (accordion), Michael Schweineberg (guitar, acoustic guitar, backing vocals), Lars Schneider (bass, backing vocals) and Thorsten Donner (drums).
My favorite track on Zooperation is "City of Lights." Lars takes over lead vocals for this song -- and Lars is the best singer in the band. The tempo of this track is calmer than Lady Godiva's normal fare. In fact, there isn't much of an Irish sound here, either. I am reminded of a Toad the Wet Sprocket ballad.
"Path of the Righteous Man" is more typical of a song you will hear on Zooperation. The beat is faster, the instruments a little more lively. The Irish-with-a-dash-of-German is more distinct. The tin whistle and accordion duke it out for supremacy. In short, it's a fun, fast-paced tune that fits a party mood.
The band hits juvenile territory with "Deeply in Love." The music is typical Lady Godiva. It is the lyrics that make one think this piece was written by teenage boys. The chorus focuses on the moral failings of the woman the singer is crooning about: "But she's a slut" is the constant refrain. Ignore the lyrics and this is another Irish party track.
Lady Godiva is not the best Irish folk-rock band I've heard, but I have enjoyed Zooperation nonetheless. At first, the accents threw me, but after a pint or two, you won't even notice, I promise! If you are a fan of this genre, Lady Godiva is worth checking out.