The Killigans - Dance On Your Grave (Cover Artwork)

The Killigans

Dance On Your Grave (2018)


About ten years ago, a friend of mine told me about this Irish sounding punk band from Nebraska. I’m not sure how he stumbled upon The Killigans, but I remember listening to the CD he had and loving it (I have no idea which album it was though). I remember thinking, “I gotta check these guys out”. But for whatever reason, I never really got a chance to buy any of their albums. I sort of forgot about the band until I saw that they had recently released a new record and I finally got the chance to listen to it.

The band draws influences from various different genres and eras, but you could generally call it Celtic Punk, though this may be a bit misleading. The band uses melodies reminiscent of European folk songs, Mediterranean tunes, as well as some classic Irish rock bands like The Pogues. On this album, the band leans more towards the punk side of the spectrum with fast, rousing, sing-along tunes that are enhanced by accordion, mandolin, and horns.

“Throw It Away” is a perfect opener. It immediately gives you an idea of what the band’s about; a catchy melody, a foot-stomping verse, a raucous chorus and a sing-along break down at the end. The next track, “Paducah” has a Mediterranean pirate feel to it and the band goes back to this sound occasionally on other songs like “All Good Men”. And with “Burn it Down”, the band slows down the tempo, which rarely happens on this record, with acoustic guitar and a bittersweet celtic melody opening the song. It’s a song that could be part of a soundtrack for a movie or documentary about 19th Century America.

At times, the songs actually remind me of Mischief Brew. “Fight Today” and “The Best Words” are pretty good examples of this as the melodies chug along into beer swilling sing-alongs. Other times, I hear the Pogues. The title track for instance, which happens to be the last song, reminds me a lot of “Fiesta”. The horns and accordion lead the way to a circus-filled chorus. The song is a great way to end the album. Despite all of this, The Killigans seem to be a punk band at heart. “One Angry Voice”, “Bartender”, and “Particle Board” are all good examples of this. And “Artificial Hip”, with it’s sweet harmonies and Na Na Na’s, is a song that could have been on the Fat Wreck Chords Comp, Short Music for Short People.

My favorite part about The Killigans, and particularly on this album, is that they sound familiar and unique at the same time. As a result, the songs are easily recognizable without sounding bored or tired. Pair that with gravelly vocals, tight musicianship, and great lyrics and you get a solid album that many punk fans will enjoy.