The Eskies : After the Sherry Went Round2016 : Parochial Dancehall Records
This record is a great ribald, cavorting trip through bleak and dark tales, dazzlingly framed by everything from folk to gypsy jazz.
Following their ebullient 2012 EP, Sherry Go Round, and four years into their career, After the Sherry Went Around is The Eskies debut album. It has already been released in their home country, Ireland, to critical acclaim - listen once and you can't argue with "exudes a vim and vigour that bursts from out of the speakers... a bubbling melting pot of Dixieland jazz, trad and folk" from The Last Mixed Tape. Fêted as a live act the band have managed to capture all the eccentric, electric vitality of their stage show in the studio.
At times feeling brilliantly at the edge of losing control, the songs spill out at a frantic pace; as has been noted elsewhere the forty nine seconds of serenity of the title track, belies what is to come - which is twelve further tracks of crafted mayhem.
There are a few obvious peaks - When the Storm Came is a great scene setter for the rest, Fever rattles along with splendid joie de vivre, Jesus Don't Save Me has a wonderful skiffling heartbeat and there's admirable pathos in Heave Away - but the full set of songs absorbs you, then flashes past in totality; full of confounding energy and humour, as closely coupled as carriages behind a runaway train.
It's an album that successfully projects the vibrant excitement of The Eskies as a band. The dizzying musical equivalent of watching Dylan Moran in full flight in Black Books, After the Sherry Went Round has all the errant momentum and fascination of a manic spinning top, and unfolds with the exaggerated life of a speeding cartoon caper.
Pure entertainment, rapture and revelry.