Album Review :
Flatfoot 56 - Knuckles Up

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Band: Flatfoot 56
Title: Knuckles Up
Label: Flicker
Release Date: 6/27/06
Review By: Josh IndieVision

Tracklisting:

01. This Town
02. Brotherhood
03. Knuckles Up
04. Hold Fast
05. Breakin’ The Law
06. Blood And Sweat
07. The Rotten Hand
08. Battle Of Bones
09. Chi-town Beat Down
10. Fight To Live
11. The Long Road
12. Amazing Grace
13. Arran Boat

Members/Duties:

Tobin Bawinkel: Lead Vocals, Rhythm Guitar
Josh Robieson: Lead Guitar, Bagpipes, Mandolin
Justin Bawinkel: Drums, Backup Vocals
Kyle Bawinkel: Bass, Backup Vocals

I definitely was excited to hear that Flicker picked up an Irish punk outfit, and was secretly hoping that it wouldn’t be super cheesy. Thankfully Flatfoot 56 didn’t let me down. They formed in 2000, by the 3 Bawinkel brothers, and completed the lineup by adding friend Josh Robieson on guitar and much needed bagpipe. I mean if you’re an Irish punk band and have no one that can play bagpipes that’s like heresy. The band previously released two LP’s and the third “Knuckles Up” is also their label debut.

The band certainly has energy! From what I’ve heard and seen in pictures the band puts on an amazingly intense live show! The sound is a fueled by the punk guitars, drums, and bass and is animated with mandolin and bagpipes. The album is tight musically and ferocious lyrically, but also maintains its lighter side with tracks like “The Battle Of Bones”, which is about pirates, as well as “Breakin’ The Law”.

“Knuckles Up” is a great debut effort, that although leaving plenty of room for improvement, should gain them some serious attention. I hope the band is able to do some extensive touring in the secular markets because they are definitely bold with the talent to match. I’d recommend for everyone to at least give this album a chance. If you don’t dance around, pump your fists, shout along, or jump in the circle pit you might want to check your pulse to see if you’re dead!

Standout Tracks:

“Brotherhood”, “Knuckles Up”, “Amazing Grace”

Overall Rating: The only negative thing I can come up with for this album is the repetitive nature that comes with this style of music. I don’t feel that this fully lands on F56’s shoulders but they definitely can branch out a bit and strengthen their musical offerings. Set that aside, I really heartily enjoy this album! Oi Oi Oi!

Individual Ratings:

Album Art/Design:

Lyrics: Since I only received a pre-release I cannot tell you if the lyrics are included or not but they were sent to me along with the disc. A few of the topics covered are: turning your world around (“This Town”), brotherhood in Christ (“Holdfast”), abortion (“Fight To Live”), and even a soldier’s thoughts (“The Long Road”). I like the aggressive nature of the lyrics and the way they’re put together… straightforward and bold!

Marketability: The hard thing with very specific genre bands like this, is the inability to bring in fans from the outside. I am not sure this band will do amazingly well on Flicker but I think they will most certainly broaden their fan base. I hope the best for them and it’d be great to see them flourish there. The void of Celtic punk in Christian music has finally been filled!

Production: I really can’t complain about the release’s sound. It captures what it needs to and when. However, it doesn’t seem to excel past that. That may come with the style but that’s why the score is lower.

Vocals: The vocals completely fit the style and I don’t think I could see them with any but Celtic oi! punk. The gang vocals and shouts are well placed and only build the energy. Various other ska and punk vocal comparisons can be heard in Tobin’s voice but it’s not a copied sound for sure.

Similar To: Dropkick Murphys, The Pogues, Headnoise

Website
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Flicker Records

Buy:
Flicker Store at Zambooie