Personnel: Craig Downie (vocals, whistling, bagpipe, harmonica); Brian Buchanan (vocals, acoustic guitar, mandolin, fiddle, accordion, Fender Rhodes piano, synthesizer); Miranda Mulholland (vocals, background vocals); Michael Olsen (cello); Anthony Giles (tabla).
Recording information: Big Time Productions, Kansas City, MO; Metalworks, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada; The Hive, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Photographer: Joe Fuda.
Enter the Haggis are one of Toronto Canada's best known Celtic rock bands and they've been tearing it up north of the border for almost a decade with a sound that mixes rock with plenty of post-punk energy and Celtic folk music. GUTTER ANTHEMS, their seventh album, is another blistering set full of anthemic choruses that will have lovers of both Irish music and rock raising their glasses with cheerful abandon. "Noseworthy and Piercy" is the true story of fishermen lost in the raging seas of Newfoundland. An a cappella segment midway through the song captures the horror and hopelessness of the sailors and the band's furious playing mimics the violence of the sea. "Sea of Crutches" is a song about life on the road set to a tune that's perfect for driving down late night roads; a jaunty melody, mournful lyric and soulful singing drive the message home. The echoing guitar effects intensify the song's ghostly, forlorn vibe. "The Ghosts of Calico" is another supernatural song, imagining a dead miner still digging through the earth searching for the fortune he never found. It's the most American sounding tune on the album, all lonesome fiddles, slide guitar and a pure country vocal from Lewington. American bands like the Dropkick Murphys and Flogging Molly may be mining the same mother lode of Irish song, but Enter the Haggis rises above them by virtue of their splendid musicianship and excellent songwriting skills.
Dirty Linen (p.55) - "[F]illed with engaging melodies and hard-driving songs. An album to crank up loud."