Kilt the Messenger "Hellfire & Rescue"
Release date: January 26, 2018
Running time: 43:27, 12 tracks
Kilt the Messenger is Bob Youhas (vocals, guitar, bagpipes, banjo, accordion), Annie Astley Padnuk (vocals, bagpipes, viola), Jim Turner (keyboards, trumpet), David Nelson (bass, vocals) and Haley Youhas (drums). They have been recording their second album “Hellfire & Rescue” during the last three years and regularly videos for some of the songs have been posted on YouTube. As Bob says, Kilt the Messenger are not easy to pigeonhole; they aren’t the usual bagpipes rock or bagpipes punk band. So, they’ve tagged their music as Celtic Punkabilly. 11 songs have made the album. There are several rockabilly numbers, some folk-rock tracks and, above all, some poignant songs featuring bagpipes.
The highlights are “I will Not Say Goodbye”, “Joseph”, “The Ballad of Vincent McCarthy” and “Dungeons of Hell”. The first three tracks are true gems. “I will not Say Goodbye” was accepted and made it all the way to the nominating process for the 2017 Grammy Awards. Bob and Annie share vocal duties and the vocal harmonies are spot on. The structure of the song is flawless. Backing accordion, viola parts and a kick-ass bagpipes tune. “Joseph” is a brilliant number too. Incredibly well-written song, once again Bob and Annie share vocal duties. Guitar, viola and accordion are played at the beginning of the song, but later banjo takes the lead and Jim shines on trumpet. “The Ballad of Vincent McCarthy” is a special song for Bob, who is a fireman. This song is “the story of an 87 year old retired New York City fireman who joined us for dinner at the fire station every B-shift for 6 years”. Bob played the pipes at Vince’s funeral. This number is bagpipes rock at its best. Both Annie and Bob play the pipes and they’re joined by some pipe band members on drums at the end of the song, Jim Adams, Mike Naughton and Buddy Rein. “Dungeons of Hell” is a fictional tale of a battle. Keyboards and Annie back Bob at the beginning and then the electric guitar, the pipes and the rhythm section deliver a kick-ass bagpipes punk number.
“All of these Rivers” is a punk song featuring viola that sometimes reminds me of Mick Jones’ songs with The Clash. “Come Low Come High” has a guitar intro à la early Billy Bragg but soon evolves into an interesting rock song with an electric guitar part towards the end.
“They tell me that Was You” is a track about "the decline of a Super power nation over the last 50 years". The song gets a guitar based R’n’R treatment. The next cut is titled “Coming to a Theater near You”. It’s a high-octane rockabilly number that was awarded Alternative Rock song of the month by the Akademia Music Awards in Los Angeles. “No Coming Back for You/Big Brother” and “Nobody Came” are more rockabilly infused songs. Dennis Bram (sax) and Jim Correa (trombone) guest on “Nobody Came”. Finally, “Speeding Car” is an appealing folk rock cut with some Mark Knopfler sounding electric guitar.
Celtic punk can be sometimes an endogamic scene. However, some bands are trying to stretch the boundaries of the genre. Kilt the Messenger would be one of those bands. No pub standard will be found on this record, but a bunch of honest self-penned songs.