Filthy Thieving Bastards – My Pappy Was A Pistol (CD)

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 “Neverkind” 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 “Drug Lords of the Avenues”, 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 “Back To The Old Inkwell”, 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 (“Mikey Needs TO Move” is a rare miss), but the general quality of “My Pappy Was A Pistol” is solid. For example, “Needs No Retrieve” brings the Bastards to the vaguely-Irish sounds of the earliest tracks on “Pistol”; 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 “Gods Are Fearing Men” and even later with “Like Jack Dalrymple” 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).

“Singapore Sling” 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 individuals’ minds well after the disc completes. The short track length of most of the songs on “My Pappy Was A Pistol” 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 band’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 Can’t Win

Rating: 6.3/10

Filthy Thieving Bastards – 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

[JMcQ]

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