Cleveland Scene
March 3, 2010
CD Review: Black 47 | Discourse Reviews

CD Review: Black 47 

Bankers and Gangsters (United for Opportunity)

After their 2008 war opus Iraq, you might expect New York/Irish rockers Black 47 to release a similar multifaceted look at the economic meltdown. But Bankers and Gangsters reels and rollicks over the whole stretch of biting, comical, political, immigrant-laced terrain the band has owned for 20 years. They cast a punk-Proustian eye on the heady lost days of late-1970s New York on "Long Hot Summer," then, on "Celtic Rocker," give a sarcastic yet amiable wink to the tatted plastic Molly now moshing in the front row.

"The Wedding Reel," recaptures the spirit of fan-favorite "Livin' in America," while "The Islands" and "One Starry Night" resound with bittersweet warning. Trademark Black 47 bawdiness reaches full, comedic flower in the "Long Lost Tapes of Hendrix," and a surprisingly new (given leader Larry Kirwan's affinity for Ulysses) Jewish-Irish wrinkle is added to the band's canon with "Izzy's Irish Rose." Still, it's the title track that reigns supreme, with its resplendent backing vocals chiming mock celebration on the chorus: "Bankers and gangsters, soldiers and dancers/All locked together in default harmony." Finally, bankruptcy and malfeasance is fun again! Matt Marshall

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