RECOMMENDED TRACKS: “2:22” and “Grazie Governo”
RELATED ARTISTS: Less Than Jake, Operation Ivy, Flogging Molly
When I first was approached to check out The Bar Stool Preachers, I was expecting a Gospel group, in all seriousness mainly based on the ‘Preachers’ in the name. When I did a bit more research and stumbled across the title of their album and single, “Grazie Governo,” I was then expecting to hear Italian music. One thing that I was not expecting was to be thoroughly pleased to hear a strong British accent and music reminiscent of punk and ska pioneers such as Less Than Jake and Operation Ivy.
I should first establish that I have not ever listened to ska music, ever. Sure, I dabbled in Tragic Kingdom by No Doubt, but that was pretty much it. The older I get, the more open I am to different genres of music. My musical palette has gradually grown wider. Therefore, when I first pressed play on this album, I was surprised and pleased to hear a genre I was not normally accustomed to.
The album opens with heavily ska-infused title track, “Grazie Governo.” This phrase is Italian and translates to “Thank you government.” The track is extremely infectious and fun, while still containing large political overtones. I was stunned at how upbeat and happy this song was, before I dove deeper into the meaning behind the track. Another politically-leaning track on this album, “Warchief,” makes itself known by the brash vocals of lead singer, TJ McFaull as well as the heavy guitar melodies of guitarists, James Tetley and and Tom Gibbs.
Another song I’d like to highlight on Grazie Governo is one with a comically long title, “DLTDHYOTWO,” which stands for “don’t let the door hit you on the way out.” As soon as I saw the length, I immediately thought of old Fall Out Boy tracks, back when they were punk — ah the good old days, but I digress. Of course this wouldn’t be a Grazie Governo song without obvious political themes.
The more I listened to this album, the more intense I felt! The contents within this record make you want to speak up about the political climate and make a change.
My favorite song on the album beside “Grazie Governo” is one titled “2:22.” It contains heavy drum beats thanks to drummer, Alex Whibley-Conway, along with some sweet and subtle group backing harmonies. This song employs both the heavy punk influences of bands such as Flogging Molly and Dropkick Murphys, all while expressing great musicianship and musicality.
The beauty of this album is that no two songs sound the same. All seem like they portray McFaull as different characters, all while telling the same story. Although this album is rather long at the surface, the time passes quickly in that each track adds a different flavor to the mix. As I previously mentioned before, ska and punk music is not usually my go-to, but there seemed to be a sense of familiarity within The Bar Stool Preachers as I reached the end of Grazie Governo. I truly recommend listeners to check this album out and give new genres a try, just like myself. You may find something you never knew you needed in your life!
The Bar Stool Preachers’ latest release, Grazie Governo, is out on Pirates Press Records now! Go check it out! It’s available on all streaming sites.