The Pox Men are a band who are very obviously from Donegal, Ireland. The outfit itself is uncompromisingly rooted in Donegal in both sound and style. Having been dubbed on many occasions as “pirate metal” due to the hoarse Donegal accent on the vocals. They have earned a name for themselves on the local scene in Donegal and have played at some up and coming festivals.
From the minute they strum the first note, you know there is something special about this band. Formed in 2013 by indie film making nut job: Stephen McCollum, founder of Narty station, the band are his own twisted take on what the Gorrilaz would be if Damon Alburn was Stephen McCollum. The pox men are a band set in the Narty world of which has been depicted many times in his music videos and films. Stephen has made music videos for a host of acts, most notably Jinx Lennon on: “Nothin but a Leprechaun” on his “Narty station” imprint. Stephens videos and indie “punk” films have been on RTÉ a rake of times from “The blizzard of odd” to the short film showcase.
The lyrical themes on this album are very Irish, set against a backdrop of the most negatively affected area of Ireland during the recession: Donegal the forgotten county.
This album tells a story of youth destroyed by Ray D’arcy never reading your name out on your birthday, of Iarnód Eireann telling you you can only get as far as Sligo and y’have tae get the bus the rest of the way and of no relatives ever getting on Winning Streak Lotto show.
The album starts off with Sean Nós folk lore stylings with the track “Sez You”, a gritty Celtic musical orgy wherein the bass-line drives the track with some interplay between the characters singing the storyline. The guitars with their sparse tremolo come in here and there to remind you that someone actually has an electric instrument in amongst this mess of trad infused madness, all in all it’s a fabulous start to an album.
Next up is “Thornado”, here we are treated to some heavy chugging guitars in a very horse lipsy fashion, fast and punchy with very catchy lyrics clearly referencing immigration. It leads into the next track: “Time is like a horse” an absurd “bitta craic” with an almost tool-circa 1998 guitar riff in the drivers seat, here the drums come into their own with a china cymbal conveying a very Norse war like feel to the groove. We are exposed to the floor tom being treated like a bodhrán. The song is crafted beautifully, with progressive songwriting On par with Metallica’s Master of Puppets, it’s one of the strongest on the album.
These three tracks are accompanied by music videos of which can be found on YouTube under Narty Station and give the music another dimension of character. Track 4: “The life of a Ghost” starts up with an incredibly catchy melancholic chord progression reminiscent of the 2010 song “Better than Love” by “Hurts” treading on a tribal drum beat and engulfed in Celtic energy.
“Emigrant Song” starts with an ambient bass line and a forlorn vocal line with psychedelic guitar phrases a dark side of the moon. From “Sez You” to “Emigrant Song” we have a very intense journey, that is until we get to upcoming summer single: “Bog Surfer”, bursting in with a bass line seemingly taken out of Buddy Hollys cook book, we are treated to an upbeat jovial departure from the “fuck the Irish government” buzz that the first few tracks are on with delicious anthemic lines like “Workin in the bog in the sunshine, I don’t wannae waste tiday cuttin turf.” We are immediately brought back to our youth, working on the bog with grandad, fighting off “The fuckin midgies” come sundown. I could go on about this album but in this writers opinion, this album is a breath of fresh air. It doesn’t take itself too seriously but can when it wants to, It is a trail blazer.
The themes are consistently doused in Celtic folklore from “Warrior Woman” to the ubiquitous “Unpredictable Weather” and “Tin Whistle” to the Avant Garde/Vaudeville “Away with the Fairies” to the not so celebratory “Paddy the Saint”.
The only gripe with this album as with lots of independent productions is the lack of bass in the master. If you fly a flag on Paddy’s day then this album is for you. If you are an adult with a Ray D’arcy complex, this album is for you. And if you are hungry for something that came out past 2009 and wasn’t made in bed by a stoned fucker on Ableton then this album is for you. Get out there and give them some money.
Find them On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ThePoxMen
Hear them here(give them money) : https://thepoxmen.bandcamp.com/album/the-pox-men
check out their videos and other misc content here :