Milwaukee has long been an on-again, off-again hotbed for what's amorphously defined as punk polka. For a band bereft of a drummer and rich in accordion, Ando & The Jolly Barrels is punkier than most. Andrew "Ando" Ehlers' barbed vocal attack— like a junior Jello Biafra—and handling of the torso-encompassing squeezebox make him a compelling frontman.
Distancing themselves from their default genre's preoccupations with beer and levity, Ando and his Barrels attack emotional vacuity, apocalypse and boring day jobs with an enthusiasm bordering on crazed glee. And if the tempos and rhythms approximate hardcore more than what's to be heard at certain stages at Polish Fest and German Fest, then these guys would be the perfect opening act for everyone from the Violent Femmes to Gogol Bordello. If there's any justice, however, they'll be headlining soon enough.
-Jamie Lee Rake, Shepherd Express Milwaukee
Ando & the Jolly Barrles call their what they do "death polka". Catchy to be sure, but when I look at the hand drawn cover, the DIY style and the over all FUCK YOU attitude this CD exudes it doesn't matter that Ando plays the accordion and is backed up by cello and upright bass.
This is a punk album.
A lot of things have gotten under Ando's skin and he's grabbed the nearest instrument and will have his say, fancy recording techniques be damned.
I sit here in my secret HQ surrounded by piles of punk LPs, stacks of snotty-vocaled 45s, a few boxes of demo cassettes and racks & racks of CDs. In my 26 years of spending my hard earned cash I've only asked one thing from a punk release: that it includes one, just ONE, song that focuses anger into a sing-a-long stiletto. A single track that I can identify with and use to vent my anger as I sing along.
"Who Cares" has that, a venom-toothed attack on wage-slaverly entitled "Day Job".
It. Kicks. Ass.
If I saw them live I'd lose my voice screaming along to the line "let's all live a lie!".
I'd recommend this CD to you based on this number alone.
Luckily there's a number of other solid tracks here: "Hollow Eyes", "Tick, Tock Avarice", "Piss & Candlewax" so you won't feel like your buying a CD for just one song.
So there you go, the kids are still pissed... why aren't you?
-Jordn Block, Sepiachord.com