For a band that has such a post-modern look to their album cover, this is some old-style, looking-back Irish sounding punk rock. The first track has a compelling, almost-lounge arrangement that clicks along as the sometimes-gruff vocals dominate. This lounge type of sound recalls Momus and other fancy-free artists in the vein of Cat Stevens; in fact, a track like â€œNeverkindâ€ seems to be much more in this vein than the Irish roots previously pandered to in earlier tracks.
Moving through a number of styles with each subsequent track, the next really innovative track comes in â€œDrug Lords of the Avenuesâ€, which increases the amount of distortion to the degree that it really rivals the rest of the track in terms of prevalence. There is a little bluegrass influence for â€œBack To The Old Inkwellâ€, which is coupled with some gothabilly vocals to create something that has more than a passing comparison to acts like Tiger Army. The Filthy Thieving Bastards do not hit on every single track (â€œMikey Needs TO Moveâ€ is a rare miss), but the general quality of â€œMy Pappy Was A Pistolâ€ is solid. For example, â€œNeeds No Retrieveâ€ brings the Bastards to the vaguely-Irish sounds of the earliest tracks on â€œPistolâ€; while there is still a great deal of psychedelic influence here, the Irish notes are not lost. The piano and strung-out guitar (think Eagles or Brian Adams) during â€œGods Are Fearing Menâ€ and even later with â€œLike Jack Dalrympleâ€ really imbue the track with a spontaneity that really recalls some of the most influential bands of the last twenty years (bands like Replacements or Husker Du; the latter even has an arrangement that is like early Cure).
â€œSingapore Slingâ€ may just be the stand-up straight hit on the disc; there are hints of Social Distortion and Joe Strummer. The simplistic structure oof the track, coupled with Matt Freeman-style bass line really make it something that will stay in individualsâ€™ minds well after the disc completes. The short track length of most of the songs on â€œMy Pappy Was A Pistolâ€ really ensures that individuals are given a complete range of what the band is capable of; the disc then is one of the most diverse collections of style and form that have came out under one bandâ€™s name since the aforementioned Momus or even Gong last came out with a new album. Interesting, to say the least.
Top Tracks: Singapore Sling, I Just Canâ€™t Win
Filthy Thieving Bastards â€“ My Pappy Was A Pistol / 2005 BYO / 15 Tracks / http://www.byorecords.com/bandpage.php?band=ftb / http://www.byorecords.com / Reviewed 09 November 2005