Friday, March 6, 2009

Amadan in Fazer

Afan Music

- Pacifica

Review by Laurie Lonsdale

Over the past seven years, Oregon-based Amadan has released two CDs and has played a plethora of shows in bars and clubs in an attempt to build a fan base. And now, with the release of Pacifica, their third full-length album to date, some critics are comparing this Celtic punk band to that of The Pogues, Flogging Molly, and Gaelic Storm. But is it worthy of such praise?

Surely there are a few solid songs on the album, offering proletarian yarns gathered from friends and family, and people they know in their neighbourhood, all set to fiddle and whiskey and delivered in a manner deserving of some serious toe-tapping (or perhaps more, if you’re so inclined). But for every song from the 12-track CD that has its merits, there are just as many that fall short…considerably short.

“Leaving Liverpool” is a conventional folk song in which the band has administered a shot of B12 in order to ramp it up, while “Mescaline” delivers a live-off-the-floor jam type of vibe. “Anchor Tattoo” presents an energetic punk edge. But for me, the standout was the fast-paced, instrumental contribution of “Devil in the Kitchen”, and though it’s certainly the shortest track on the CD at only a minute and twenty seconds, it packs a punch with tight musicianship and a fun flair.

I can imagine that this band is fully capable of rousing a barroom audience to its feet and causing them to dance and drink between tables or at the stage front. However, as far as Pacifica is concerned, it’s up for debate as to how well they captured that feeling. It’s worth checking out if you’re a fan of Celtic that mixes with punk and pop, as you’ll be pleased with a few of the songs and might even consider them gems. Whether you’ll be pleased with the entire album, however, is doubtful.

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