Review: Songs of Modern Piracy

Rating: ★★★☆☆
Pirates R Us
www.pirates-r-us.com

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Genre: Alternative pirate carnival punk
Rating: PG
Target Audience: Just about anybody

Some albums are meant of listening, others are meant to be dissected, considered, and analyzed. But Pirates R Us’ CD, Songs of Modern Piracy, is meant for neither – it’s to be loved. True, we could discuss the lyrics – by and large these six songs are about piracy (historical), piracy (illegal filesharing), piracy (breakfast cereal icons), and Kevin Bacon. The words are generally catchy and humorous – Ballad of Captain Crunch is particularly amusing. But every time I try to listen to the lyrics, I keep getting caught up in the music of this album. The vocals and instruments all blend together into a wonderfully whimsical mix of guitars, accordians, tubas and trombones (and something called an erhu, according to the album liner.) The net result is a swaggering russiany carnival of strangely pirate songs that are an absolute joy to listen to. One of my favorite non-traditional pirate albums of all time.

Review: Prelude to Mutiny

Rating: ★★★★½
Captain Bogg & Salty
www.eatalime.com

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Genre: Original pirate songs and tunes of various non-traditional styles.
Rating: G
Target Audience: All Ages (and I mean that – this is not an album adults should ignore!)

“Prelude to Mutiny” is the third album from the groundbreaking pirate band Captain Bogg & Salty. Their first album, “Bedtime Stories for Pirates,” remains one of the must-have albums in any pirate collection. Next was “Pegleg Tango,” which I felt strayed a bit too much from their strengths, although it still had some very brilliant tracks that were well worth the price of admission. So what of this third album? It contains many of the elements from the previous two albums, and yet brings on a new edginess previously unexplored by Bogg & Salty. And it rocks. Continue reading

Review: The Scurvy Pirates

Rating: ★★★½☆
The Scurvy Pirates

Genre: Traditional and original pirate shanteys with a modern attitude.
Rating: PG-13
Target Audience: Ages 15 and up

Most pirate bands can be classified – they are either contemporary, experimental, or traditional. But Scurvy Pirates is a bit difficult to pin down. Their musical style is firmly rooted in traditional sea shanties – the instruments and singing would be quite at home aboard ship, or in a dockside tavern. But their raw enthusiasm and creativity show no allegience, and the resulting lyrics cross the map from the odd to the brilliant in a series of songs that old salts WOULD have sung for generations, if only they had thought of it. Continue reading

Review: Pirates of Scamalot

Rating: ★★★☆☆
Hucklescary Finn
www.kevinhendrickson.com

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Genre: Non-traditional. True pirate alternative.
Rating: PG
Target Audience: Ages 15 and up

It never ceases to amaze me that one man – Kevin Hendrickson – can simultaneously be behind three pirate-themed bands yet still keep each one distinctive in both content and tone. Captain Bogg & Salty is highly polished, kid-friendly, sometimes silly, and fun throughout. Pirate Jenny is the rock/punk side of things – also silly at times, but relatively grown up, and somewhat raw (in temperament, not quality.) Hucklescary Finn, on the other hand, seems deeply introspective, and musically speaking is certainly the most experimental of the three. Continue reading

Review: The Ben Gunn Society

Rating: ★★★½☆
The Ben Gunn Society
www.bengunnsociety.com

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Genre: Contemporary, pirate-themed original. Pirate Alternative.
Rating: G
Target Audience: All Ages

How do you fairly critique something that, at its core, you can’t help but love? The Ben Gunn Society’s self-titled album isn’t as polished as some of its pop-rock-pirate brethren, and its quirky lyrics sung with a russian accent may not appeal to some the more anal members of our fine pirate community. But let’s be honest – this is a brilliantly creative, absolutely delightful album that keeps me smiling from ear to ear each time I hear it. Continue reading

Review: Once Upon a Wave

Rating: ★★★★☆
Pirate Jenny
www.kevinhendrickson.com/kh/pirate-jenny/pirate-jenny.html

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Genre: Contemporary pirate rock and alternative.
Rating: PG
Target Audience: Ages 15 and up

I heard Never Sea Land first. It’s how I was introduced to Pirate Jenny, and how I fell in love with them. So by default, Never Sea Land is my favorite. Were it not for that edge, I might argue that Once Upon a Wave is the slightly better album. Or I might not – I’m really indecisive on this one. In Never Sea Land I was briefly introduced to the character Captain Slaymore. In Once Upon a Wave he returns along with Scabby the seaman. This was when it becomes apparent there is actually a story at works. Scamalot, pirate paradise, is in a state of transition. Its walls are in peril and a new king must rise. Of course, it’s not as straightforward as that, but its close enough. Continue reading

Review: Never Sea Land

Rating: ★★★★☆
Pirate Jenny: Never Sea Land
http://www.kevinhendrickson.com/kh/pirate-jenny/pirate-jenny.html

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Genre: Contemporary pirate rock and alternative.
Rating: PG-13
Target Audience: Ages 15 and up

What can I say about this album? It’s unfair of me to review it, I’m too biased.

I don’t know about you, but I grew up with sea shanties. Schooner Fare and its ilk were what I listened to as a teenager (which is probably why I didn’t get invited to the cool parties.) But in time I needed something different. Enter Pirate Jenny. Continue reading