Review: The Lagan – Where’s Your Messiah Now?

The Lagan are an Anglo-Irish celtic punk / rock band from Kingston Upon Thames in the UK – and Co Down in the old Country. And this is their debut long player. And you basically get exactly what it says on the tin. Featuring such diverse lyrical subject matter as drinking, fighting, lapsed Catholic guilt, manual work, drinking, a long history of social and economic displacement, drinking, maids with nut brown hair, fighting, drinking, emigration to the USA, drinking, redemption in the next life, and drinking – these ten songs make no pretence or attempt to go beyond the traditional Irish tropes. And yes, of course it had to end with ‘Fields of Athenry’. But this is utterly, utterly impossible to dislike.

There’s an honesty and a joy – reflected in the liner notes that essentially say thank you for listening, we just did this for fun – that is infectious. Some tracks – ‘Same Shite Different Night’, ‘Sailing East’, ‘Sunny Day in Southie’ – are front and centre Dropkick Murphys and Flogging Molly celtic-P fare. And pleasingly spiky. The rest is a more mainstream-sounding proposition, including several simply arranged trad Irish folk songs. Think the Dubliners with full colour tat sleeves, flesh tunnels in their ears and slightly more frisky politics. And you’d be about there.
These boys are currently on tour – a tour which, perhaps predictably completely avoids the West Midlands. It does however cross Yorkshire about four times and hit Luton in the Autumn. I guess the promoters in the second city – which has ever floated on a sea of plastic paddies and proud canal diggers, and where every second person on the southside of the city claims at least part Irish descent – must be a bit shit. More fool them. Get this lot at the Irish Centre, the Castle or the Dubliner in Birmingham and you’d be guaranteed both a sellout crowd and a fucking riotous celtic-P up of epic proportions.

Ultimately, this is the musical equivalent of ten straight pints of liquid craic. Like Guinness served properly – ice cold and with a shamrock neatly played in the top – it slips down easily. And just over half an hour later, even when you’re cut to the bone and fighting in the car park, you’re still smiling.

4.5 out of 5 high fives!

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