Neck – Come Out Fighting

Neck - Come Out Fighting

London-based Neck has apparently been recording and playing in Europe for over 9 years. Come Out Fighting is the group’s American debut and the bottom line is, if you dig the likes of Flogging Molly and the Dropkick Murphy’s you should be all over this. The sextet includes guitar, bass, whistle, banjo, drums, and fiddle and the sound they create is decent Irish punk. It’s rowdy, sometimes political, and always soaked in alcohol.

Neck is a fun band with songs meant for fun – they strike me as a real party band. Most of the 14 tracks on Come Out Fighting are upbeat Irish punk numbers with anthemic vocals provided by Leeson O’Keeffe, formerly of Shane MacGowan’s Popes. These musicians have put in their time and the pedigree is there. The blistering guitar wails right alongside the more traditional instruments and the group is quite tight, but there’s something muddy about the production though that keeps me from fully enjoying this album.

Perhaps it’s that the band is best enjoyed live – and I’m sure they give a wild performance. The songs here are definitely fun – and maybe at top volume it doesn’t matter – but the cacophony is just a little off. The vocals seem a bit too muted and sometimes the various instruments just get too jumbled. That’s not to say Neck isn’t fun – they are – but when compared to their obvious peers there’s just something a little, well, off.

This is not meant as a total downer on Neck. Tight musicianship, a fun sound, and an obviously great handle on Irish punk is all part of this group’s total package. Perhaps Come Out Fighting will be their inroad to a larger audience in the United States, but I’m guessing it will be a U.S. tour in support that will really garner them more American fans.