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The Men Beyond The Glass – Uncle Bard & The Dirty Bastards.

Oct 7, 2020


With just a cursory listen you’d be right to think that here are a bunch of Italians who worship at the altar of all things Pogue and thus wear retro clothing – almost Peaky Blinders chic – flat caps, drink lots, sport tattoos and play speeded up, rowdy, go for the throat music, which is encouragingly loud.  You’d be right but you’d also be wrong, because despite the dubious name these guys are no mere copyists they know exactly what to do and they’re doing it. ‘The Men Beyond the Glass,’ is their third album, previous offerings have included the wonderfully titled ‘Get The Folk Out!’

But I digress, you don’t get to a third album without having something going on. Support to US Celtic thrash bands, Flogging Molly and The Dropkick Murphys, festival headline slots and a not inconsiderable fan base were gained because of thought and careful consideration of lessons it’s taken others in similar situations years to learn. So what is it? Well, it’s a number of factors, first they’ve a decent vocalist, one Guido Domingo who unlike many Celtic punk frontmen has a creditable voice and no trace of an accent. Secondly they write in English and it all makes sense, lyrically the Dirty ones could well be working in Mullingar rather than Milan. Thirdly they all and I mean all – including a troop of Irish dancers – are enthusiastic and knowledgeable about Celtic music, they know it inside and out. Which leads to fourthly they knit into the fabric of their songs named Irish jigs and reels that give extra authenticity.

Refreshing too, note they don’t have a resident fiddle player rather they rely on whistle banjo and pipes, though there’s the occasional guest violin player on the album. The majority of the twelve tracks here deal in life, love and what hits you along the way, ‘ Back on Your Feet,’ is a healthy reeling thunderstorm which celebrates tenacity, ‘Devils Are All Here,’ is a modern take on the trad theme of a wronged man but if it’s sentiment you want ‘Empty Glasses,’ raises a toast to the auld country in suitable fashion. ‘Get Some Rest,’ the fitting closer “When there will be no more stories to be told, I’ll get some rest, I swear.” Based on the evidence here that rest’s a way off yet. Roll on album number four.

Simon Jones.

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