Flatfoot 56 - Jungle of the Midwest Sea (Cover Artwork)

Flatfoot 56

Flatfoot 56: Jungle of the Midwest SeaJungle of the Midwest Sea (2007)

Reviewer Rating: 3.5
User Rating:

Contributed by: GlassPipeMurderGlassPipeMurder
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Let me begin by saying this release showed up in my mailbox rather unexpectedly. It was a busy time of the school year, and I tossed the package on my bed and started doing some homework at my computer. In between doing some school work, I figured I'd read up on this band, so I typed "Starflyer 59" .
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Let me begin by saying this release showed up in my mailbox rather unexpectedly. It was a busy time of the school year, and I tossed the package on my bed and started doing some homework at my computer. In between doing some school work, I figured I'd read up on this band, so I typed "Starflyer 59" into Wikipedia, which told me that the band is a Christian indie-rock band. I knew that couldn't be right, so I typed in "Project 86," which Wikipedia says is a Christian post-hardcore band. Not right either. I had finally had enough, so I grabbed the package on my bed to find out what the darn band's name was. Ah yes, "Flatfoot 56." As Wikipedia tells me: "A Christian punk rock / oi! band." Fair enough.

The Wikipedia entry goes on to say that "the group's use of Scottish highland bagpipes has led to their classification as a Celtic punk band, comparable to the Dropkick Murphys or the Real McKenzies" and was founded by brothers Tobin, Justin, and Kyle Bawinkel in 2000. Whether they are true blood Irishmen (I have no idea) is beyond the point; the fact is that this sound has been done before, done better, and upon first impressions, Flatfoot 56 doesn't seem to be doing much more than providing a sterile, Christian alternative to the Cornerstone kids hungry for the sounds of the Pogues, Dropkick Murphys, Flogging Molly, or the Tossers. Outside of mewithoutYou, Five Iron Frenzy, and Pedro the Lion, I have yet to really be impressed at the creativity and pushing of the envelope of most self-proclaimed Christian bands.

Despite initial negativity, Flatfoot 56 has easily become one of my favorite Christian bands, if for nothing more than the energy and vigor in their music. While neither as intricate in their musicianship as the Tossers, as catchy as Flogging Molly, or as aggressive as Dropkick Murphys, their style of Celtic punk is still enjoyable. It's actually quite refreshing to hear a Celtic punk band not singing about alcohol every other song. The band has infinitely benefited by the addition of auxiliary member Josh Robieson who contributes both bagpipes and mandolin, and a second guitar to the ensemble.

The album opener "The Galley Slave" is one of the more interesting tracks on the album, with the tickling of mandolin notes layered on top of a slow clapping rhythm that sounds more like a sea chanty than an Irish jig. "Carry ‚??Em Out" explodes through the speakers following "The Galley Slave" with gang vocals and ringing electric guitars, while the next track, "Loaded Gun" continues the energy, tossing in some spiffy bagpipe playing and the always relevant Christian proverb, "Turn the other cheek." The only question I have is exactly what the message behind this song is. The words are nearly incomprehensible, and the promo didn't come with a lyrics booklet, but I'm wondering how the chorus of "This is my loaded gun" relates to the band's Christian message. There is so much a Christian band could do lyrically with working class music, but they haven't seemed to have harnessed that opportunity yet. "Hoity Toity" is one of the standouts on Jungle of the Midwest Sea, with wonderful mandolin playing and a well-designed song structure. Chicago legend T. Duggins of the Tossers even contributes vocals to the album's title track, a punk-heavy jig that goes about a minute and a half too long.

There's no doubt that Flatfoot 56 is riding the coattails of popular acts like Flogging Molly and Dropkick Murphys, much like the Supertones rode the ska wave, and P.O.D. piled onto the rap-metal bandwagon. Their only niche is that they're a Christian band and can cater to the evangelical crowd. I am not providing these critiques simply to be a jerk, but this band is talented enough that they could be finding success in music, and not just in Christian music. That said, their energetic songs, talented musicianship and songwriting, and passionate delivery cannot be dismissed. When it comes to Christian music, I'll take Flatfoot 56 over trendy junk like Underoath or Emery any day.


People who liked this also liked:
Far from Finished - Living in the FalloutDeadly Sins - Selling Our WeaknessEverybody Out! - Everybody Out!Street Dogs - State of GraceThe Unseen - Internal SalvationFlatfoot 56 - ToilBurning Streets - Is It in Black and WhiteThe Riot Before - Rebellion [12 inch]Lifetime - LifetimeStitch Hopeless & the Sea Legs - Gone Bats

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
420ChokingVictim666 (October 23, 2012)

For the record these dudes aren't nazi or homophobic. I met them after seeing them open for Less Than Jake, they're really nice dudes. During their set they were promoting unity.

Jinxproof777 (July 23, 2012)

Bootsnbeer...you're an idiot. Their manager WAS a bonehead. Renounced all off that crap and works to do humanitarian and racial reconciliation work. Learn your facts.

blood-guts-punkrock (August 14, 2011)

I'm hearing a lot of negative things about this band and i in no ay support what people are claiming they support. Really dont know whats going. I like songs on this album, some lyrics are abit weak and the song writing isn't the best but certain songs i regard as really good. Still wondering about these accusations of nazis, homophobic whatever though, hmmm

bootsnbeer (October 24, 2010)

fuck this shit, why so many posts on this site about this asshole homophobic racist not really Irish band!???
their first album had homophbic crap "jokes" on it at the end that they removed for the 2nd pressing.
they are bigots and not punk or skinhead at all...and they hang out with actual neo-nazis
look, this is their manager's old bands:
http:/ /en.metapedia.org/wiki/Final_Solution_(band)
real cool guys, huh?

rubiksdude16 (September 25, 2009)

Knuckles Up is better though but still good nontheless

HeySid (May 16, 2009)

I don't think these guys are jewish. Are they Christian or something? I hear they're cool guys, but that's pretty crazy since they are punk rocker-skinheads. Aren't those types supposed to be mean?

Mez (May 13, 2009)

Once I went to a party with my goon friends, after we were invited by some cute blonde girl. The party was at a church, and consisted of streamers and high-school kids drinking unspiked fruit punch in the basement.

Flatfoot 56 was also there, and they gave us free CDs. The lyric booklet read like a talking points memo from the Christian Right. "Jesus is with me in the pit" and "you're a whore if you get an abortion."

Keep yer bible study outta my recess, you god-fearing-fucks.

the_darlings (December 19, 2008)

We played with the guys from Flatfoot 56 with Time again and the Street Dogs at the House Of Blues Sunset in October. They have an incredible stage presence and energy that they bring to their shows. They have catchy punk/oi riffs and their bagpiper Josh is amazingly talented. More to boot these guys are extremely humble and solid guys. We recommend checking them out live as well as both of their releases "Knuckles Up" and "Jungle Of The Midwest Sea" Best of luck to Flatfoot 56 and we hope to play with them again in the future!

-The Darlings



Anonymous (May 23, 2007)

How the hell does a Christian punk band have anything to do with Skrewdriver? I think the only thing this band has in common with skrewdriver is that they don't give a shit about what people think about them standing for something they really believe in. I think its awesome that this band is playing something that‚??s different than the same old tired lines given by every punk band you see these days.

Anonymous (May 22, 2007)

Christianity is about as mainstream as idea as you can come across. Singing about it is pretty much like starting a "punk" band to discuss the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Of course you could also compare it to the ideas expressed by bands like Skrewdriver. Biggest difference is that Skrewdriver wrote good tunes.

Anonymous (May 22, 2007)

Yeah censorship! Now we're talking. That‚??s real punk rock. Than we can all have something in common with the FCC. Who really cares what they believe. Maybe they really could care less about punk rock points. They obviously aren't jamming it in people‚??s faces. I think the only time they dedicate songs to Jesus is when they are talking about Amazing grace. Which is what that song is all about. But lets just get those nasty old Christians back and have our selves nice little witch burning shall we?

Anonymous (May 21, 2007)

A good way to break free of the Christian thing is to move off a Christian record label and quit dedicating songs to Jesus. Praise the Lord! PS - Fuck this band.

neuroticjay (May 21, 2007)

I'll have to add my $.02. They're a nice bunch of guys. They're Swedish and German. Their piper is Scottish. - he's where you get the Celtic music playing from. They just have a love for Celtic music - both Celtic punk and traditional - so yeah, you're gonna see a mix of influences by other bands in their style. Just like The Tossers and Flogging Molly were obviously influenced by the Pogues. As for the "Christian" label, the boys are trying to break free from that. They're first and foremost a punk band - not a Christian band playing punk music. It just happens that they're all Christians and not afraid to admit it. They're music has matured and improved over their last release. So has their lyrical content. For those who are fans of theirs, you'll love this release. For those who are curious, go check em out live. For those in bands that are goin nowhere and love shittalking, go find another band to be jealous of.

Anonymous (May 21, 2007)

Man this board is full of a bunch of crap! For one this band has never done a DKM cover and is about as anti racist as it gets. Great band, great CD, and as real as it gets.

Anonymous (May 17, 2007)

These dudes are not Irish.

R3venge_Therapy (May 17, 2007)

I'm almost positive I'd hate this record, because I really don't like any Celtic punk, but there are a couple good Christian bands. Reliant K, though I'm not a fan whatsoever, are very talented and are one of the better openly Christian acts. MxPx is one that no one mentioned. They've had rough spots for sure, but I think they have a handfull of good records. My score is for most christian rock bands.

Anonymous (May 17, 2007)

The only thing more annoying than an Irish person is a band full of faux Irish people.

brown (May 16, 2007)

huh? really. I must have been completely oblivious to the little yellow button under your name until JUST now. Still, credit where credit's due, your review of the brain failure/ big d split cemented my purchase of it.

GlassPipeMurder (May 16, 2007)

I've been staff for about two months now. Thanks for the positive feedback, it is much appreciated.

brown (May 16, 2007)

When did Glasspipe become staff? You write awesome reviews, good on ya.

SloaneDaley (May 16, 2007)

Most right-wing christian fantatics in the United States are of Protestant backgrounds, not Catholic ones. Most people of Irish descent are Catholics, its safe to assume if these guys are religious fanatics and have those fans they aren't even of Irish descent much less Irish themselves. This is unless of course they'd be some of those tricky Brits that call themselves Irish in the North that are Protestant. What am I talking about anymore?

Anonymous (May 16, 2007)

band rules! I will take these guys over lame ass DKM any day.

Scruffy (May 16, 2007)

I would also like to point out that, while I have never in my life been a fan of theirs, POD was playing their style for a good half decade before rap-metal broke. They were by no means bandwagon jumpers. I knew their name before Korn or Limp Bizkit.

Anonymous (May 16, 2007)

These guys have no place in the punk scene. They are just a major label backed Christian DKM/Flogging Molly vehicle that is being used as a trojan horse for spreading their faith.

Check out their record label:


If you want to support a Christian band buy a Hanover Saints record or something. At least they are a punk band first and foremost.

red_eye_inc (May 15, 2007)

Score is for hating the Cubs. I live right by Wrigley Field, imagine my pain. All those schlubs from the suburbs yelling at the top of their lungs at three in the morning keep waking me up. Fuck baseball, double fuck the cubs for being a tourist trap.

theonetruebill (May 15, 2007)

Well, I've been told they're from the Midway Airport area which is basically the same neighborhood that I grew up in and claim to be around since 2000, but I never heard their name until late 2005, so you're not the only one.

red_eye_inc (May 15, 2007)

I've been going to shows in Chicago for 10 years and I've only seem their name in the past year, so maybe they stuck pretty close to Christian circuit. If they did, I sure wasn't there. Score is for calling out Underoath and Emory, because those guys really suck. Like, long. Large. Mega-suck.

Scruffy (May 15, 2007)

Based on the Christian bands you said you like and your taste in music, GPM, I'd recommend Ghoti Hook, Craig's Brother, Dogwood, Twothirtyeight, The Cootees, Crux, Roadside Monument and Blenderhead. I'm sure there are more, but those cam to my mind the quickest.

Anonymous (May 15, 2007)

I bet these guys are bummed about Jerry Fallwell.

Banal242 (May 15, 2007)

Does Christian Celtic Punk have any drinking songs?

If not, then what's the point.

Good review though.

Anonymous (May 15, 2007)

The army of right wing christian skinheads that latch onto every show these guys play is absolutely frightening.

No thank you, sir.

I-type-poorly (May 15, 2007)

This score is for Jerry Falwell dying.

Anonymous (May 15, 2007)

what clasifies as a christian band?
dop they ahve to sing about how great jesus is or is it dependant on their personal beliefs?

branden (May 15, 2007)


Anonymous (May 15, 2007)

these guys are dicks....my old band used to play shows with them and one of them told me that they didnt like the dropkick murphys because they play too many covers.....then when i watched their set 6 out of 10 songs were all covers....2 of which were songs dropkick covered.....so yeah that kind of pissed me off but they also listen to lots of skrewdriver and im not talking pre nazi era.....oh and non of them are even irish which is a bit rediculous.....

Anonymous (May 15, 2007)

Fuck this band.

- strangenotes

Anonymous (May 15, 2007)

good band. really great guys.

elephantdwarf (May 15, 2007)

there needs to be less christians...

canaandrumz (May 15, 2007)

There needs to be more Christians making better music. Especially punk, it seems like they all do metal or indie.

Anonymous (May 15, 2007)

the words "Celtic" and "punk" next to each other make me cringe.

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