Whiskey of the Damned,
Monsters are Real
(independent, 2014)

Whiskey of the Damed was voted "the best band to party to" in their native Milwaukee. An Irish punk band, the group is led by Dublin-born Eoin McCarthy, who sings, plays lead guitar and writes most of the songs. Violinist Gina Romantini, bassist Matt Scheultz, accordionist Brian Link and drummer Andrew David Weber round out the band, and these guys are nothing if not filled with an anarchic energy.

The album opens with a lovely Celtic harmony fragment sung by McCarthy and Romantini that quickly turns into a charging uptempo number that sounds as if the band is has thrown all restraint out with last night's beer bottles and has decided to see exactly how raucous they can be.

The sentence above is not meant in any way to be a criticism of the band's music. The song sounds wonderful; it shows us a group that can create not just energy but real emotion in its music and in its listeners. As in most of the uptempo songs, the violin drives the music, soaring over a heavy bass and thundering drums, emphasizing both the melody and the tension that pumps the heart of the song.

This is not to suggest that Whiskey of the Damned is a one-note band. Although its base is Celtic rock that breaks the speed limit and threatens the sound barrier, Whiskey of the Damned is equally at home with sensitive ballads. Songs like "Maria" and "When It All Comes Down" show the softer side of the band, while still retaining an edge.

Monsters are Real is a fine introduction to a band that should be around and making good music for a long time.

music review by
Michael Scott Cain

24 May 2014

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