This Smokey Bastard article was written by Yasmin Winder, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Hazel Webster.
Two words had me. Folk. Punk. What am I getting all unnecessary about? Smokey Bastard have just released their third studio album ‘Back To The Drawing Room’, and what an offering it is. A cavalcade of angry punk vocals should, by rights, be the antithesis to sleepy old-time instruments such as accordions and mandolins, but Smokey Bastard have managed to intertwine everything into one big dirty pirate-fest (Insert ‘YAAARR’ here).
The album instantly kicks you in the face with ‘Archipelago’. A panic attack inducing speed fest, full of commendable musical talent heard through mandolins, banjos, and accordions. The band are UK based but, you wouldn’t know it from listening to ‘Back to the Drawing Room’.
Reminiscent of Dropkick Murphy’s with less of the Irish, in fact, if anything, the folky rhythms sound more like they have come from some far flung eastern European country. Notably, ‘Baba Yaga’ which is based around a Slavic folklore beast sounds unusually similar to a Greek plate smashing song. The Juggernaut staccato vocals of singer Chris capture the young, angry vibe well, although he does sound like he has a constant supply of bathtub gin throughout the album! ‘South Australia’ is more like an old work-time song, and it definitely captures the vibe of the communal nature of old skool folk in this one. ‘Can Of Worms’ is a great end song. The fusion between the styles really works here, and you get a great insight into the groups’ instrumental agility.
The speed and severity of the album never ceases, and is almost panic attack inducing. Maybe this is the desired effect but you can’t help but feel a couple of walking pace songs wouldn’t go amiss. Or maybe this is the whole point. You feel like Smokey Bastard are taking part in a one hundred metre sprint and taking you along with them for shits and giggles. To sum up, the album is another strong offering from these “Dandies-gone-bad“. Taking the genre to a whole new level, Smokey Bastard are going from strength to strength, and the UK music scene is all the richer for it.
‘Back To The Drawing Room’ is out now via Bomber Music.