The Mahones are back again with a brand new album titled The Hunger & The Fight (Part 1) as their eleventh release. Packed with their traditional Irish-Celtic influences and their brand of punk rock, their new album once again tells a story of where they have been as a band and their lives as a whole. The album starts with a very slow and traditional tune titled “Brian Boru’s March” which has been performed and rewritten by a slew of other Irish musicians. This is followed by the title track (featuring Tara Stone) which starts slow and picks up mid-song. Clearly, the title of the album has personal meaning to them as they mention “You got to keep your dreams alive”. Could one say it is cliché? Possibly, but at the same time it comes from the heart and I can’t blame them for it. It also makes for an interesting ballad-y type tune as well.
The third jingle, “Paddy On The Railway” (featuring T. Duggins of Chicago’s Irish folk punk act, The Tossers) gives a bit of a history lesson. With this song being one of the more upbeat ones toward the beginning of the album, featuring T. Duggins really added some serious substance. The vocal trade offs between he and Finny really brings the listener in. Once again, this album has no shortage of vocal and musical guests with the next runner up being Simon Townshend (younger brother of Pete Townshend of The Who). He is featured a mellowed out and folk track entitled, “Stars”.
The musically catchy tracks come again with “Prisoner 1082” which talks about a being a “political prisoner of war” as quoted in the chorus. The rhythm section really shines through here as a whole. What can I say though, I am sucker for a good rhythm section! On the other hand, a track I am really partial to would be “A Pint of Plain (A Drop of Pure)”. It may be a standard Irish drinking song but its a tune that would make the crowd dance around at a Mahones show.
The band really shined on this album with getting touch with the folkier side of their influences. It’s something I feel they do on every album in a sense but with this new release, it comes out more often. These influences come out in the catchy yet somewhat emotional “Someone Saved Me” as well as the well known traditional Irish song, “The Auld Triangle”. The latter end of the album includes, “Blood On the Streets of Dublin” which is sung like a story and is followed by “St. Patricks Day Irish Punk Song” which is a six minute Irish punk song at that. Plain and simple. The last two tracks, “I Can Only Give You Everything” and “Last One To Die”, are extremely catchy and upbeat and really show the musical diversity the Mahones have been known for over the years.
Overall, The Hunger & The Fight is certainly a step up from the band’s previous work. The Mahones have expanded musically within their genre and way of producing music without losing their signature Irish punk rock and roll sound. If you’re looking for a record that you can play throughout the month of March in a St. Patrick’s Day mix with the likes of Dropkick Murphys, Flogging Molly, the Pogues, and more, I suggest picking up this album. If you’re a die hard Irish punk rock fan: Pick it up, already!
4 / 5 Stars – Head over here to pick the record up.