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Enter The Haggis
Gutter Anthems

Review By Steven Stone
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  The young Irish band, Enter The Haggis, combines traditional Irish attitude with cutting-edge energy. Gutter Anthems unites the punk posturing of punk pioneers Stiff Little Fingers with the Irish lyricism of The Clancy Brothers. Enter The Haggis’ unique merging of the raucous sounds of bagpipes with penny whistles, harmonica, accordion, fiddle and metalized electric guitar to create a wall of sound worthy of Phil Spector’s darkest fantasies.

According to vocalist and guitarist Trevor Lewington, "We like to experiment musically, pushing the boundaries of what people think of as Celtic music." The opening song, "Litter and the Leaves," is a drinking song, but instead of the happy buzz of a warm pub, the song dwells elsewhere. "The gutter is the place where we will make our stand. With a smile on my face and a bottle in my hand, you’ll find me in the gutter in the morning…" While not as picturesque as "Auld Lang Syne" their images are far more indicative of modern Ireland. Enter The Haggis can be sensitive. Their song, "Cameos" has a soft pop/folk feeling combined with a rollicking rave-up near the end around the lyrics, "The story told, the credits roll, the lights are up, it’s time to go…" The melodies have a decidedly Irish lilt with modal melodies combined with catchy rock and roll hooks.

Although they’re only a five-piece band, Enter The Haggis utilizes more instruments than many larger bands. Brian Buchanan sings lead six of fifteen tunes, and plays fiddle, piano, synthesizer, Fender Rhodes, Hammond C-3, accordion and mandolin. Craig Downie sings and plays bagpipes, whistle, and harmonica. Trevor Lewington sings lead on five songs in addition to playing most of the guitar parts. Mark Abraham sings backing vocals and plays electric bass and mandolin. James Campbell plays drums and all percussion parts.

From a sonic point of view the most fascinating thing about Enter The Haggis is how they combine different sounds. Bagpipes and razor-edge electric guitars playing the same riffs creates a unique sound not unlike the Allman Brothers filtered through several feet of Guinness Stout and Irish whisky. These sonic juxtapositions give Gutter Anthems a unique texture.

If you’re ready for some Celtic music with a 110 proof kick, Enter The Hagis are ready for you to belly up to their bar.

 

 

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