I like the idea of The Polkaholics—polka punkers who like to party—because a lot of the lousy fast punk songs I’ve heard start sounding like polka after a while anyway. The Polkaholics ditch the traditional polka instruments (no trumpets or accordions here, kids) in favor of guitar, bass, and drums, and basically rock out as hard as they can for as long as they can. It sounds like a lot of fun, and the song titles are fantastic. I mean, it should be impossible to write a bad song when it’s called “Pimps of Polka”, “Beer, Broads and Brats” (that’s Bratwurst, kids), “Beer (Breakfast of Champions)” or “Let’s Kill Two Beers with One Stein”. The performances are appropriately sloppy, and lead vocalist “Dandy” Don Hedeker has a sort of Evil Joe Strummer thing going on, so that’s A-OK, but they consistently fall into the trap of getting too caught up in themselves. There’s no way that a song as musically repetitive (and startlingly conventional) as “(I Gotta) Get Old Disgracefully” should go on for five-and-a-half minutes, and even the sub-three-minute “Beer, Broads, and Brats” has about three false endings too many. None of this is to mention that when they leave the polka behind and just start to rock, they just sound like your typical alcohol-fueled garage band that should never have made a CD in the first place. If they stick with the polkapunk and tighen up the songs, these guys could be fantastic—as it is, they’re not so much a party as they are the next day’s headache.
// Notes from the Road
"Powerful Chicago soul-singer dips into the '60s and '70s while dabbling in Urdu, Punjabi and Italian.READ the article