The Finn MacCools
Jul. 22, 2012
Celtic rock has usually followed two paths. Bands either infuse the islands' folkloric influence into the expansive art-mindedness of prog (Horslips, Tempest) or use fiddle and bodhran to add righteous ethnic rootsiness to punk (The Pogues, Dropkick Murphys). Milwaukee's Finn MacCools approach their fusion from somewhere between the two aforementioned extremes. If there's such a thing as poppy, mainstream rock with roots in the Emerald Isle, Rogue Nation exemplifies it as good as any album from the Midwest. If anything, there's a bucolic element to their rockin' side as well, making the band a fit opening act for the BoDeans or The Wallflowers. The band's disparate elements gel together much of the time, but when they give their guitar (or other stringed electric instrument?) the chiming, bagpipe-like tone of one of their closest forebears, Big Country, they journey down a path they'd do well to explore further.