Album Review: Finnegan’s Hell – One Finger Salute

Album Review: Finnegan's Hell - One Finger Salute
Reviewed by Dan Barnes

It’s refreshing to see Celtic Punk spreading from its traditional heartlands and emerging from locales not normally associated with the Old Country. Over the past year or so I’ve reviewed genre releases from Germany’s The O’Reillys and the Paddyhats and Australia’s The Ramshackle Army, so hearing Finnegan’s Hell is one of the leading lights of the New Wave of Swedish Celtic Punk suggests there is more to come from Scandinavia.

One Finger Salute is album number four from the quintet sees them thematically picking up where 2020’s Work is the Curse of the Drinking Classes left off. Clocking in at a smidge over twenty-five minutes this new album comprises of ten pathos-filled songs of broken people and the little lives the vast majority lead; lives that are filled with struggle, yet ones in which defiance is key.

From the outset, Finnegan’s Hell invite you to take a drink and sit a while. What Have You Got in the End is the sort of existential discussion of the futility of life set against traditional instrumentation and a tune that is begging for a jig. Big and bombastic, with a relentless underscoring bass line, this track is straight out of the Dropkick’s playbook.

Album Review: Finnegan's Hell - One Finger Salute

The traditional influences are writ large across the short runtime. Pennywhistles and accordion colouring the title track, I’ll Make it Up to You and Run Boy Run, while Nothing Left to Lose and Godforsaken Town sum up the general atmosphere of the record.

It’s not a complete folk-infusion as Finnegan’s Hell drop in punctuating tracks which, although utilising traditional instruments, veer more toward a classic rock sound. Read My Lips is built around a fast and furious galloping rhythm and even managed an unexpected breakdown and a sample from A Few Good Men. Whereas the banjo strings of Comin’ After You momentarily throws you off the scent before showing itself as a driving beat in which the protagonist is desperately trying to outrun a Faustian deal.

Oh, Death ends the album in a more sombre mood. Gone is the upbeat jigs of earlier replaced instead with a defiant acceptance of an oncoming reckoning, closing the record in a perverse symmetry with its opening.

One Finger Salute is short and sweet and perhaps even a concept album. It’s filled with up tempo tales of working life and the triumph over adversity, whether they be great or small, permanent or temporary, and I highly recommend it.

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