What kind of a name is Hovercraft Pirates?
I dread to think what names were rejected; Segway Ninjas or Vikings in Capri’s maybe?!
The album is called “Mixtape” and it sure does resemble one of those - a mixed bag of mid-90’s Fat Wreck Chords/Epitaph punk, beer swilling jigs, desert-rock blowouts topped with noodly muse-isms - Hovercraft Pirates have neatly arranged all their influences in a tidy pile and then learnt how to recreate them without getting caught…only they haven’t quite got there.
Starting off with “Rica”, building up slowly to a sleazy tub thumper of an introduction to the Irishmen that has everything going for it, its only when it turns the corner into an epic stadium sized shredding solo that makes me think that I might have stumbled on the next big thing.
“Always Free” sounds like something Tim Armstrong wrote and threw away when he was 15 and he wrote 8 Pink songs, so he knows what’s rubbish. Not sure what happened during the next two songs…then track 5.
“Just Another Rock Song” is a fine example of pure party rock, with some Fugazi mixed in for good measure…but merges into a rolling space rock drone. The problem with Hovercraft Pirates is that they have prioritised the wrong influences. As a music fan you should like a broad range of bands, from the cool bands you use to impress people to that funky house tune that is always on the radio that you should hate but it gets into your head like one of Khan’s earwigs. But would you include EVERYTHING into the pot when cooking a band? One hand yes, but there should be some quality control. My example of this is the song “Happy/Free” - what’s with the ska-punk? Without it, I could at least take the song seriously. Behind the ska is an atmospheric backing with a huge smash hit chorus…shame about the ska. The finishing track “Dreams” is the big-ender that further proves Chris Blue’s skills as an axe-shredder. For a three-piece these boys have a big sound and know how to craft an anthem but need to think about where they want to go and to let go of the ska-punk thing…
But I see they played on the U.S. Warped Tour in ’08, so what do I know!?