Label: Afan Music
Released: December 9, 2008
Amadan incorporate bits of the Clash, Billy Bragg, John Fogerty and the Mighty, Mighty Bosstones, but what I suspect they’re really going for is the Pogues mix of traditional Irish folk and biting punk rock swagger. They don’t nail the latter, but their success in other areas makes them a worthwhile listen.
There’s no doubt that Amadan is a rock band, not a folk band. Their boisterous guitars and barroom swagger make that quite clear. At their core, there is straightforward rock n roll as it’s always been played in garages around the world. What they attempt is to incorporate elements of the Irish tradition into their tunes. It’s been done successfully before by the likes of Flogging Molly and the Dropkick Murphys as well as the kings of the subgenre, the Pogues. However, these bands all create a chemical reaction between their two influences, making a single inseparable sound. Amadan, on the other hand, seems to simply try to interject a tin whistle here and a folk passage there and not only is it not seamless, but it is also very flat. Where the other bands use traditional elements to really take off, Amadan instead is clean and measured and safe…and dull.
That aside though, Pacifica has some fine tunes and the performance is rough and gritty and in many ways all that it should be. Luckily, the Irish bits come and go quick enough that the rest of the album can still be enjoyed.
If you’re curious about my rating categories, read the description.