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Very different...
Posted June 08, 2010
By DrJ,


Ever heard of this band? Maybe? I listened to some of their earlier songs and was hooked! I mean, how many bands in the US make Christian Irish Punk Rock? The style itself is enough to make me a fan...
That said, does having a different sound mean good? Sometimes... Before this album, the vocalist was aggressive, the bagpipes were prominent, and the rhythm was always driving! But Black Thorn showed a different side of Flatfoot 56. The lead vocalist was seemingly trying to get a more mellow and melodic feel with his voice. Not a smart move, in my opinion, since he had an extremely rough sound perfect for the more upbeat, crazy, manly songs of the older albums.
On the other hand of that, the songs in Black Thorn weren't always total punk rock. They had some ballads thrown in which gave the album a good balance, but i would still argue that his vocals weren't the best for them.
They did switch singers at times (i think) and put a rougher voice in for the harder songs. Though the main guy could've handled it himself, the hard songs did sound good voice-wise...
Instrumentally, there was a lot more mandolin than before, less bagpipes, and, unfortunately, an accordion. Very upset about the accordion. And I did prefer more bagpipes, but some of you may not, so that could go either way. But the mandolin gave many of the songs a distinctly softer sound, almost combating the electric guitars. Not really a good thing in my mind... "Hourglass" was made into a Mexican fiesta song. Very bizarre for a Celtic band to do, but i think they succeeded.
Overall, i was disappointed by the changes. Flatfoot 56 is still a great band and there are several songs i liked. "Black Thorn", "Courage", "Born for This", "Smoke Blower", "Son of Shame", and "Shiny Eyes" were all worth buying. Fortunately, i got the album for $6 at Amazon and feel like it was worth it.
Overall, it was still a good album, but it could've been lots better!

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