The McSweeney Brothers: Landmark
By Mike Moroney
‘Landmark’ because this is the Auckland band’s first studio album after several ‘live in the pub’ efforts dating back to 1995. The McSweeney Brothers are an Irish pub act with a difference - albeit a small one. Reading the track listing, the repertoire is pretty much what you might expect: Spanish Lady, Holy Ground, I’ll Tell Me Ma and the obligatory Ewan McColl classic Dirty Old Town. But even the most cursory listen reveals arrangements a lot less ordinary. The gritty fiddle-playing of Marion Burns and the varied vocal lines take these tunes somewhere else - often to the extent that familiar melodies are completely changed. This four-piece are comfortable with their genre though, like a well-worn pair of shoes, and there’s plenty of energy to carry them along. To that end, as fine a landmark as this album is, I’d still rather be hearing them at the pub over a pint of the black stuff.