Endless Mike and the Beagle Club - Saint Paul (Cover Artwork)

Endless Mike and the Beagle Club

Saint Paul (2016)

Anti-Flag Records

The struggle to attain the perfect folk punk album is finally over, and can be found in the new album from Pittsburgh-based Endless Mike and the Beagle Club. The band, which is effectively a single singer-songwriter accompanied by an orchestra of diverse instruments, really went all out when they wrote and recorded this album. The record combines a wide variety of musical styles and instruments that wouldn’t classically fit in a normal punk sphere, but seem to be incorporated perfectly here. On top of that, the entire album was produced by Chris Barker of internationally known punk outfit, Anti-Flag, who has worked on many records for both his own band and for others through his label, Anti-Flag Records.

First of all, I’m not even sure to what extent I can consider this album to be folk punk. The influence that Saint Paul has from other genres and musicians is both substantial and evident, but absolutely adds to the unique feel of this album. The track “Saint Paul” is virtually a southern gospel song, complete with a gracefully increasing tempo and backing choir, that became infatuated with rugged punk undertones, creating an odd, yet pleasing, blend of sounds. The very diverse track puts the exclamation point of the album’s experimental undertone. I mean what is more experimental than using a gospel-punk song to flash a realist’s view on modern religion?

Outside of just “Saint Paul”, the track “The Road to Unmasking” more accurately displays the power this band can have when they carry on with the class folk punk chord progressions and lyricism. But, despite this, Endless Mike and the Beagle Club still manage to slide some gospel undertones into the song to make it genuinely original. The aggressive folk punk tune seems almost like a b-side to “Saint Paul”, carrying on in a similar style that seems to progress into the rest of the track list very smoothly. Mike’s vocals on the track sound very typical for a folk punk act, but that doesn’t make them any less fantastic, as his lyrics drip the perfect amount of melody onto the diverse and beautiful instrumentals pinned to this album.

Ultimately, to see such a fantastic album from such a small, little-known act really warms my heart and lets me know that the punk scene is alive and well (not to mention diverse). I expect huge things from this band following this release and would not hesitate to pick up this album. It’s a fantastic dose of experimentation and exactly what I like to see from growing bands, and I cannot wait to hear more from Endless Mike and the Beagle Club.