TMS and The Baptists is album number three from Dublin troubadour The Mighty Stef and for the occasion he’s enlisted the help of ‘Gothic-folk-rock congregation’ The Baptists, a veritable super-group of folk from Humanzi, The Last Tycoons and Howlin’ Dowlin’.
If death was a lingering theme throughout his last album this one’s a howling roller-coaster ride of revenge, sin and redemption. He continues delving into the darker-side of life with the murky ‘John The Baptist (Part 2)’ and ‘Blood & Whiskey’ and as with all great troubadours his songs reflect the world which surrounds him.
A tectonic shift of societal conditions sees his style and songwriting follow suit, and how. ‘We Want Blood’ is a polemic shot across the bow for working people against the continued exploitation by banks, governmental and religious elite, similarly ‘Hollywood’ could be viewed as a fervent attack on the cosmetic and fake side of modern materialistic society. Aside from the superlative slick songwriting we’re treated to lashings of blues and folk with punkrock attitude, from the dark and thunderous ‘Social Science’ to the inspiring and uplifting ‘Georgia Girl’ or ‘John The Baptist (Part 1)’ which could quite easily be Primal Scream or The Rolling Stones in their pomp.
While the nods in the direction of Nick Cave and Johnny Cash remain he seems more comfortable and at ease, he’s found ‘his’ voice and ‘his’ sound, freed from the shackles of his somewhat overbearing influences. ‘The Baptist Record’ is The Mighty Stef’s most ambitious projects yet, the one fans knew he was capable of and he’s passed with flying colours. His best work yet.
The Mighty Stef launches TMS and The Baptists in The Workman’s Club, Dublin on Thursday, December 2. Tickets €10.