A forthcoming European tour is the occasion for Fob Records (“Street music for street people”) to belatedly promote and celebrate this seven piece Italian group's second album which came out early in 2018.
In the interest of transparency, I should declare that I have a special interest in this band because they come from my adopted home town of Cesena in Emilia Romagna.
The label urges promoters to book a group whose riotous brand of "folk rock and rural punk" fizzes with anarchic fervor. Irish balladry blends with a bolshy punk attitude and obviously owes a huge debt to The Pogues as well as to American-based 'oirish' bands like Flogging Molly and Dropkick Murphys
They also follow in the noble Italo-Celtic tradition and, as a result, elements of their sound has echoes of the inspired live collaboration between Fabrizio De Andre and PFM. The Modena City Ramblers are another major influence as evidenced by the fact that MCR's flautist Franco D’Ani played on their debut full length release “Lunga Vita al Re” (2015).
That album included a cover (sung in English) of Steve Earle's “Galway Girl” but there's a greater sense of passion and vitality when they sing in their native tongue. This was particularly apparent in their version of “Drunken sailor” which they translated into Romagnolo dialect (“Un marineri imbarigh a ziznatic”), transferring the stoned seaman to the nearby seaside town of Cesenatico.
For their sophomore release, the title ('Malanotte') comes from an ancient local legend and the album comprises tenuously linked story songs related to topics like wild nature, scary wolves and pillaging pirates.
It features collaborations with soul mates Punkreas (Mio Fratello), Mino Savadori (Surival) e Tom Barbour (Nobel per gli stronzi). The latter song gives short shrift to pseudo academics: "Arriva il Nobel per gli stronzi, il peggio come sempre vincerà" ("Here comes the Nobel Prize for assholes where the worst always win").
With boisterous humor and rollicking energy, this is no-frills music best heard in a live setting with the booze flowing freely. However, the intelligently sequenced album can be enjoyed even when sober and the quality of the songs shows that Lennon Kelly are more than just another fast and loud party band.
Lennon Kelly's website