Paddy Nash & The Happy Enchiladas is a band with a style as unique as their name. They say their genres are ‘Folk Rock Country Punk Pop [and] Blues’ and have been described as ‘Like The Saw Doctors jamming with The Undertones at a street party held by Squeeze’. I was excited for this one.
The first song on the album “Laughter and Love” was a great opener and title as it showcases the bands musical abilities and gives the listener a nice sense of their style and what is yet to come. It introduces us to the multitude of instruments that are to appear on the rest of the album, with a group harmony to start off with that slowly makes way for acoustic guitar, a male vocalist, piano, bass and finally a female vocalist to complete the cacophony that is Paddy Nash & The Happy Enchiladas.
Something that strikes me first about this band is its upbeat rhythm and catchy walking bass lines. I like that we are exposed to these early on as it seems to be an integral part of the bands style and something that they seem very comfortable doing. However this is not to say the band is a one trick pony. Songs such as “Last in Line’ and ‘I’ll Be Done Loving You” show that the band has a more soulful and introspective side that they are not afraid to explore. It is these songs that I was really tuned into the lyrics for as they are a lot more stripped down than most of the others, usually featuring mostly just a churchy sounding organ, entrancing guitar picking and some mean wailing harmonica.
I feel like the band has done this intentionally to point our attention to the messages of the song which prominently feature love and regret, something we can all relate to. I’d also like to mention that the lyrics of the songs feel well polished and thought about. One song in particular where the lyrics stand out is “Adam & Evan”.
It features the topical issue of gay marriage and has a very positive outlook on it, pointing out the flaws in the Catholic church and marriage system. The line “love is not immoral, love is a human right” really hits the nail on the head for this whole issue and is one of the best on the album in my opinion. It seems to me that a lot of their lyrics give great advice about life and are definitely one of the best aspects about these songs.
One thing that struck me was the prevalent northern accents of the singers. They make no effort to hide their vocal heritage which to me is a wonderful sign as it shows that they are proud of their roots which adds more credibility to their lyrics. The lilts and intonation of the Northern accent are complemented beautifully by the air and cadences of the instruments melodies, notably by the guitar and harmonica, and makes for very pleasant listening indeed. Another thing that struck me was the band has a good knowledge of musical theory and effects. There are a lot of ideas explored in their songs for example a capella harmonies at the start of “Laughter & Love” and word painting at the end of “Boys in Blue”. The effects they use help carve out an original sound for the band .
The finale of the album ‘Stop Me From Dreaming’ is where the band really shows what they can do. Featuring a killer harmonica solo, soulful organ, sweet harmonies and and a guitar solo that would make slash nod his curly head in approval, this is definitely the right way to end an album. I would have never thought that a song with so many musical styles incorporated could work but by god do they pull it off. It incorporates all the genres used throughout the album and shows us exactly what you get when you order a cocktail of folk, rock, country, punk, pop and blues, and that’s Paddy Nash & The Happy Enchiladas!
Make mine a double cos’ I could drink this stuff all night.