Jan Jacob Mekes, Celtic Music Magazine
Review: “Hot Days”
When I started listening to this album, I got the impression that this was a decent selection of Celtic songs. Well played music, with just the right amount of gusto. At the same time, the songs played by Czech band Poitín sound fresh, and the name ‘Hot Days’ seems appropriately chosen, for this would be good summer material.
And then I got to song number five, ‘Crazy Man Michael’. That clinched it for me. It’s a very bold choice to include such an unusual song, especially when the lead singer starts out a cappella before the instruments kick in. Poitín are obviously a courageous band who know what they’re doing, and they know they’re good at it.
The next track, ‘Hot Days’, continues in that vein. Contrary to what you might expect, it’s not a thumping summer hit, but the name is still appropriate: the instrumental song perfectly conveys the feeling of a hot, sweltering day, even having a hint of the Middle East. ‘Midsomer’ on the other hand is a more traditional summer track, and together with the rest of this excellent album, you can’t go wrong – even if it’s winter, you’ll create a summery feeling in no time.
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Mike McDaniel, Celtophilia
I could listen to these guys play all day
Poitin has one of the most interesting stories of any of the CD submissions we’ve received. They are a Celtic group based out of Plzen, Czech Republic. If any of you are beer lovers, yes, I mean THAT Plzen. If you’re wondering, yes, I have the envelope with the address and postmark on my office wall, if anyone wants to come by and gaze at it. It is my favorite piece of Celtophilia memorabilia so far. If you’re not a beer historian, Plzen is the birthplace of a beer style called pilsner, and you’ve probably had one at some point and not even known it. Most of the “American” beer styles are poor imitations of a proper pilsner. Anyway, enough beer history for now. I think Plzen is probably a great place to be a Celtic band, and Poitin delivers some great music on Hot Days.
The CD is heavily instrumental, and it is immediately obvious that these guys are world class musicians. Everything is brought into nice harmony, and even the didgeridoo, which I’m not a fan of, is made to sound just right with the other instruments. I love that there are four instrumentals on Hot Days which stretch over five minutes each, because I could listen to these guys play all day.
This seems somewhat important to at least note, so yes, the singing on Hot Days is in English, not Czech. Lead singer Jeremy King is not Czech-born, as I understand. So, the lyrics are accessible, even to us ignorant Americans. His voice is clean and crisp, and really quite lovely, and the tracks on which it is taken advantage of are some of my favorites.
The title track of the CD, Hot Days, is an immensely long seven-minute instrumental, dominated in the first half by a soothing, entrancingly slow melody played with a flute or whistle, which inspires craggy highlands and mossy greens. Then, about halfway through, it breaks into a set of traditional dance tunes, and somehow it all just works together. I have a hard time explaining it, but it does.
I am not even going to try to pick a favorite song on this CD. I love them all. I have listened to this one over and over since we received it, and I will continue to do so.
Review first published in Celtophilia.com 2008
Always expect energy when you listen to a Poitin album. These guys always deliver goods with gusto. Hot Days is an album that looks the way it sounds (note the chili pepper red cover that screams hot hot hot!). The introduction of the didgeridoo and the soprano sax are pleasant surprises. The album has everything that jumps and grabs you from behind.
Step It Out has Jeremy King’s superb vocals. Precision and tight musicianship are the things the band is known for.
For to Free. Wowwowow! The didgeridoo addition here is something I truly dig. It is the right ingredient to the track! It makes you feel like you are in Australia, wearing a kilt and jumping with kangaroos. It begins with this ambient sound of an old vinyl record being touched by a needle.
Who Are You is a fast traditional song. Every nuance is captured in the recording. The crisp vocals and resonant fiddle jive together with the fiery guitar strums. This song makes me feel like a young man ready for action.
Springtime Frolics is a track I can sum up in one word: stunning. These guys record their albums live. Such precision is not easy to master. I read somewhere that they would do it over again if ever something goes wrong. It’s like me writing this review, having a lot of re-editing to do when the grammar goes wrong wink wink.
Crazy Man Michael starts a capella and then blossoms with a guitar. It is a great title track. It sings about a tragic incident. You know, I read that if you have some Irish in you, then you will understand that the more painful the song is, the more the singing gets better. With its bare arrangement, the vocals gain the dramatic effect making it one of the most memorable singing styles I have heard in years.
Hot Days is a track which begins with both the high and low whistles fencing each other tenderly. The mournful notes progress into a beautiful track with rich arrangements and incandescent beauty which calls to mind a phoenix rising from its ashes. The second half of the track jumps into a jig with an explosive chorus of other instruments.
Midsomer is an energetic traditional track that won’t let you stop tapping your feet.
A Bucket Full of Mountain Dew is another traditional track with fast singing. There are amazing vocal harmonies and a beautiful melody.
March Flowers is a jazzy jig which begins with the acoustic guitar, then the whistle and then other instruments join in. It has this swaying rhythm to it. It makes you think of seaside and relaxing afternoons. I noticed that there is a consistency of clean recordings all throughout the album.
For to Free really frolics into your mood and into your subconscious.
I Was A Young Man is a fast ballad about coming of age. There is great bodhran playing on top of the fiddling. The didgeridoo encapsulates the track like fine moth’s wings. It’s awesome!
Saxet is a jazzy traditional track with a vibe that smells of beer and chips. It is also a sexy track.
Curragh of Kildare ends the track with its amazing fiddling. Hot Days is an album that makes you realize that some very talented Irish music players are also found in the Czech Republic. This is world music at its finest.
Originally published in 'The Celtic Music Fan' June 17, 2012