The Swaggerin' Growlers | Keep Your Head Held High

Thugly Goose (2009)
By BARRY THOMPSON  |  March 10, 2009
3.0 3.0 Stars

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Although that surly new Irish "shot drink" the Knot actually tastes like spicy ginger cake, its 100 proof potency will annihilate your reality. Ergo, it was with a mix of trepidation and joy that I accepted a bottle of it along with my review copy of the Swaggerin' Growlers' second full-length opus. The rationalization for this flagrant payola: the Growlers reckon their music is best heard while you're shit-faced. You don't really have to be wasted to enjoy this band; you just need to have been wasted at one point. For a week.

Whereas their debut was a slick in-studio affair, Keep Your Head Held High was recorded in the attic of an Allston apartment building. This thrifty production choice retains the unpolished rowdiness of their live show, and it ought to discourage a few annoying (though largely accurate) Flogging Molly comparisons.

Opening with a gorgeous a cappella rendering of traditional Irish tearjerker "The Green Fields of America" (they need to let tin-whistle/violin player Annie Libertini sing more), the disc clatters through calamitous carols about drinking, poverty, friendship, and sentimentalizing all that, which is a very Irish thing to do. Shining bits include the title track, "Whiskey After Dark," and "Where Do I Go from Here."

THE SWAGGERIN' GROWLERS | Middle East upstairs, 472 Mass Ave, Cambridge | March 17 @ 9 pm | $8 | www.mideastclub.com

Related: Noise in the hood, Fortunate one, Four play, More more >
  Topics: CD Reviews , Irish, Flogging Molly, middle East Upstairs,  More more >
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