Album review: FINNY McCONNELL – The Dark Streets Of Love

FINNY McCONNELL – The Dark Streets Of Love

Whiskey Devil Records [Release date 03.09.21]

After 30 years of leading renowned Celtic punk rockers, The Mahones – who have released over 20 albums and shared stages with the Dropkick Murphys, Shane MacGowan, Stiff Little Fingers, Billy Bragg, The Buzzcocks, Sinead O’Connor, and The Damned to name a few – founder and band leader Finny McConnell decided that it was time to make an album for himself. Finny also includes covers of four songs with deep meaning to him by Bruce Springsteen, Tragically Hip, Lou Reed, and Shane McGowan.

The Springsteen cover ‘Atlantic City’ opens the album in fine style, although Finny McConnell’s self-penned songs like ‘We’re Miles Apart’ more than deserve a place alongside such an established classic. ‘Stars (Oscar Wilde)’ is another fine example of his song craft and a song originally recorded by the Mahones.

His punk rock roots do show through on the pacey Mahones’ ‘New York City’, although the main tempo of the album is one of acoustic arrangements with a laid back feel.

You can hear his love of the Pogues on that band’s classic ‘A Pair Of Brown Eyes’, where Finny sounds uncannily like Shane McGowan. Speaking of eyes in a song title, the piano led, jazzy feel of Lou Reed’s ‘Pale Blue Eyes’ is simply stunning. The husky tones of Finny’s singing match the song and musical mood perfectly. More jazz piano and swishing snares to be heard on ‘Cocktail Blues’, a perfect late night wind me down listen.

The Tragically Hip’s ‘Fiddlers Green’ is dedicated to that band’s singer Gord Dowie who died in 2017. Another song that highlights the vocal power and emotion Finny possesses.

I have not heard anything by the Mahones – something I intend to rectify ASAP – so can’t really comment on the Mahone songs on here. However, if you are a fan of heartfelt, enjoyable Celtic meets American songwriter music this is a ‘must have’. It has a timeless air about it that all good albums with lasting appeal have. ****

Review by Jason Ritchie

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