Album Review: Alestorm – Curse of the Crystal Coconut

YAAAR! Is it really time for a new Alestorm album? It only seems months since No Grave But The Sea came out but it’s actually three years! Shiver me timbers!

OK, we know what to expect. Alestorm have their formula that’s tweaked ever so slightly with each release, but the basics are all present. The bawdy, the silly, the anthemic, the semi-serious and the outright stupid are all present and correct. Musicianship is top notch as always, production is excellent and as soon as the final notes of “Henry Martin” fade out, I’ve been flinging it back round to “Treasure Chest Party Quest” for another go.

The latter track was released as a video / single today (April 2nd) and you can listen to it below. It’s the typical high-tempo lunacy and it’s buddied thematically on the album with “Pirate Metal Drinking Crew”. As if Alestorm need more party anthems. The immaturity really kicks in with “Fannybaws”. OK, so it’s about a legendary piratical individual, but let’s honest – it’s just an excuse to shout “Fannybaws” throughout the chorus. Grab yourself a book of Scots colloquialisms before listening to this one. I’ll let you figure out what a “boaby” is…

Fast-paced reptilian lampoonery rattles us through “Chomp Chomp”. Gators, crocs and caymans all get a namecheck in this warning for all your bootleggers looking to take your leaky ships to foreign climes. Finntroll’s Vreth guests on vocals, too. And the reptile theme continues in “Tortuga”, being as it is Spanish for “tortoise”. I know this as that’s what our pet tortoise is called. She now has a theme song! Wicked. And it’s got Captain Yarrface (Rumahoy) on vocals to help with its thumpy, rap-influenced beat.

More guest vocals feature on the epic “Zombies Ate My Pirate Ship” courtesy of Patty Gurdy (Patty Gurdy’s Circle) who also plays hurdy gurdy throughout the album. I’ll tell you this, she’s got an amazing voice! This is a song that you’d expect to sound sillier than it does, but in this case it’s the vocals that are a bit daft while the music itself is as straight-laced as could be. The contrast really works. Also it’s a message that you should take zombies seriously and they’re not a joke. Clever. Probably.

“Call of the Waves” is a rousing jig with obviously nautical themes, while “Pirate’s Scorn” will have audiences square-dancing. Or slamming into each other. Actually, when I’m trying to do “social dancing” it ends up being much the same.

If you were worrying that Curse… was lacking in immaturity, then “Shit Boat (No Fans)” will restore your faith in Alestorm to be childish. This album’s answer to “Fucked With An Anchor” (but just not as good), it’s over in a very sweary minute and twelve seconds. I don’t think I’ve heard the phrase “bag of dicks” used in a song before. Why am I not surprised that it’s Alestorm who’ve done it first?

If there’s a track that I may find myself skipping after repeated plays, it’s “Wooden Leg Part 2”. Subtitled “The Woodening” it isn’t as rude as it could have been (perhaps thankfully), and it’s a nice idea to follow up an earlier song. There’s even a nice punchline at the end, but at eight minutes it’s just a bit too long. It crams a lot into the time, though. Dark and heavy, spoken word, chiptune, flurries of the original song… It’s not bad, just a bit too much of a vanity number.

The closer, “Henry Martin”, is an “arm over your companions’ shoulders and sway side to side” number and perhaps a surprising way to end the album. However, it does give you a breather before – as I mentioned at the start – we wrap round to the beginning again.

Curse of the Crystal Coconut is a good album. Not a great one, but a good one. I’ve listened to it about eight times since it landed in our mailbox and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it. There are some superb songs on here, and a couple that I know I’ll get a bit bored of over time as with most Alestorm albums. What’s important, though, is that the piratical joke isn’t wearing thin and they’re still pumping out some quality tracks which will slot into their stuffed-to-the-gills live set in time for us to be allowed out of our houses again.

Curse of the Crystal Coconut is out on May 29th – order through Amazon to help support this site!

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