Written by: Loveloth
Avast ye dirty landlubbers and hear me tale! Name's Tentaclebeard, cap'n Tentaclebeard, and allow me to blow yer breeches away with this mighty tale of adventure, loot, friendship, and grog--many barrels of it. During me long, scurvy-ridden life I met plenty of folk but naught compare to this group of swashbucklers. Three moons ago, me crew and aye careened near a wee island rumoured to have treasure. 'Twas a hot, dry day, like most in these cursed lands but aye'll never forget the moment we weighed anchor. On the beach, five odd-lookin' lads scurried along after burying something shiny in the sands. Didn't take long before the buggers were caught for me crew is an experienced lot but so were these lads it be turnin' out. Calm as that Tortugan one-eyed drunkard these scurvy dogs were. Even me trusty parrot squawked in anger but even with ol' Bertha yellin' the fivetet remain'd cool, cool as the northern winds up in... arrrr ye get the point. Where was aye?
Aye, 'twas a...blimey, get me some grog laddie, have ye no respect for old sea dogs like yarr's truly? What kind of wenches owns this bilge-sucking tavern anyway, bunch of landlubbers, don't even get me drinks...arrrgh, back to me tale.
Now, these five buccaneers were special for they were bards, shanties factory they called themselves. Their name w're... Meadtempest, nay 'twas Grogtyphoon...wait a darn second...
Alestorm, aye Alestorm were their name. Hailing from a place named Spotland these mateys had their fair share of adventure and in wee time, me crew, aye and them found arrselves drinking...a lot. 'Round a big bonfire we sat and talked about arr finest moments. Gallons of grog were flowing through arr bellies but it mattered naught for Alestorm's tales were some of the best this old salt-filled ear have heard. Amidst the laughter the Spotsmen's cap'n Christopher Bowes spoke up about a curse. The Curse Of The Crystal Coconut, he called it.
Caught off guard this old sea dog was, for it was young(ish) Christopher who told these amazing tales. That and me crew and aye haven't heard of this coconut which was unheard of, as our ship, The Singing Maw, is renowned for being THE place for sea shanties, legends, curses and ev'rything in between. As soon as master Christopher started talking the coconut, the crew fell silent. Other than an occasional nod from his mateys, Bowes babbled like me Irish quartermaster, Seamus Flynn until one moment, young (ish) Peter Alcorn started smacking one of our now empty barrels of grog with his greasy palms. Didn't take long before othars joined in and before ya' know it, Alestorm started playing and I am here b'fore ye today, in this wretched tavern on this stormy night to recount th' events.
First thing I 'member is “Treasure Chest Party Quest,” a jaunty piece with a lot of words I didn't understand like:
“In my Lamborghini, flintlock by my side
Stealing loads of treasure, on I-95
Drinking margaritas in the Caribbean Sea
A pirate's life is the only life for me”
Yet, this mattered naught, for these rapscallions knew how to play the fiddle, harmonica and this darned thing called a keytar along with a strange lookin' drum and iron mandolin. Me crew loved the followin,' which spoke about a certain “Fannybaws”. Never heard of the cap'n but it be seemin' he killed the Kraken or as the Alestorm lads called it, the Terrosquid. That and some red bearded Pikings. Elliot, the bucko with a little moveable piano player, called Fannybaws a real scourge of the seven seas. I dream of the day fellow buccaneers call me that so it seems I'll be needin' to find this Fannybaws character and “parrley,” savvy? What I will tell ya is how aye liked Alestorm's knack for catchy hooks, storytelling elements, and how angry some sea shanties sounded. “Chomp Chomp” scared the shite out of wee Thomas so we sent him to swab the poop deck, poor lad even missed the hurdy-gurdy part which made ol' Seamus jollier than a wench receiving one piece of Eight.
Yet, nothing prepared the crew for “Tortuga” featuring Captain Yarrface, a bulky fellow who scared the shite out of wee Martin but unlike Thomas he was excused from swabbin' duties and returned shortly after, for I am a merciful cap'n. Now, this sea shanty was the strangest out of the bunch and Alestorm used this style of singin' they call rabbing. Apparently it will be a “huge thing” in the future. In “Tortuga” the lads rabbed about what we pirates love most and no privateer shall ever understand --shootin' privateer scum in arr beloved fort. Rocker of a shanty this one, ol' Bertha loves it, she be bobbin' her head to the pulse like nothing.
The followin' “Zombies Ate My Pirate Ship” is a terrifyin' tale and we're all surprised the lads made it out. Me crew and aye arrr still unsure what a “zombie” is but they be soundin' like complete bastards lemme tell ya. Before aye tell ye more, a wee secret. Ye see, me crew have no idea Alestorm and yarrs truly went to Port Royal one moon later and drank one and a half gallons of Royal Navy rum. That be some hardcore shite in case yarr didn't know. At one point in the night, the lads started playing and before we knew it, they played me their entire repertoire. I have to tell ye for, Curse Of The Crystal Coconut is their finest sounding collection of sea shanties yet burps with enough low-end for those more aggressive parts yet always has space for the bountiful instruments that are used. 'Tis a wonderful, cheddar-drenched dynamic, all the more accentuated with stupidly fun songs that, while mostly formulaic, never miss their mark and somehow always manage to make me smile. It's a strange mistress because even after five records, Alestorm are still managing to successfully milk the pirate universe in increasingly creative (and disturbing) ways. We've reached a point where we can only stand by idly while these five release progressively stupider and more insane shit and I could not be happier burps. Yarrr, that was... strange but not as strange as the ultimate sea shanty from Coconut – “Wooden Leg Part 2 (The Woodening)”.
Even if ye haven't heard the first part, this one is an adventure of the highest ordarr. In hindsight, we should've told the lads to play the first part before but we were too squiffy to think straight.. or at all yahaharrr. What made “Wooden Leg Part 2” such a hit with The Singing Maw crew is how bootyful the story was and how wild the instruments be actin'. The lads said they've been writing this shanty for six years and it be showin'. The Spotsmen were sayin' a lot of words, mostly the types of metal used such as the symphonic one, the death one, the thick one and the black one. Seeing as I am from New Providence, I have no clue what they are nor did I undarrstand the Japanese section of the song. Know a bit of Spanish though so I parrtially got the Spanish part.
As for the story, 'tis about a man, a man like yer cap'n here who was wronged upon and lost flips table and points at his peg leg his leg. There be plenty of us with peg legs, so much we made a club we call The Peg Leg Union where we be dismantlin' the oppressive system where fellow armed sailors are forced to risk everything with no health insurance and social security.
Nay idea what union means but we overheard two British scoundrels yapping about a Jack or something, Anyarrr, the poor sod in the story avenges his lost leg and arm by chasing down the bastards who cut it, one was a Spaniard and the other was from Japan. He be successful in his quest but did not know of the curse so both of his remaining limbs started actin' like they owned a tavern or two. In the end, the poor bastard cuts off his head and puts a wooden one before he went to Davy Jones' Locker.
Guess how hard wee Thomas and Martin swabbed the decks that night. The Singing Maw was never as clean as that mornin' until ol' Seamus puked all over the quarterdeck, good times.
After “Wooden Leg Part 2”, we all sung “Henry Martin” as loud as we could and after it, when we were on the brink of arr strengths, the Alestorm crew said something I shan't forget:
“Haud yer wheest ye wankers and hear! We buried the Crystal Coconut under that wee palm tree before ye bearded bastards spotted us. Don't be glaikt and heed its sinister call for its curse be far worse than ye imagine."
Like a rusty cutlass in the knee these words etched themselves in the minds of me crew. Etched like barnacles on our damn keel they did and me crew obliged for I would make each and everyone of 'em walk the plank if they didn't. Just kidding arrr, walking the plank be a fabrication, keelhauling the good-for-nothings is far more brutal technique.
After that moment and one final shanty, we went to sleep under the starry skies that always keep us poor lot company. Most of me crew remembers that night as one of the best nights evarr and I can't blame 'em for Alestorm represent everything we pirates stand for. We be a dramatic bunch, that's a given, but life on the seas is a very difficult one so we be takin' everything we can get our grubby fingers on with no quarter. I lost many a sailor during these years and I know I will lose more for the Sea and the Sun are the cruelest mistresses and no matter how much tithe we give thees, they always take me men.
Aye, we could use more silly, well crafted fun like Alestorm these days, especially if they be as good as on Curse Of The Crystal Coconut. For me two doubloons, this be their second best record, right after Sunset Of The Golden Age. I truly hope those lads get a gig in Port Royal and do a larrge tour across the seven seas afterwards. Shiver me timbers if they don't deserve it....
Yarrr, that would be all from ol' cap'n Tentaclebeard, for another quest for booty awaits me and me crew. We depart in two mornin's time and I could use new sailors so jump in if yarr interested. Regardless if ye join the endeavor, ye can be sure The Singing Maw will be blastin' Alestorm until wee Thomas dies from exhaustion. Just foolin' with ye, he already died, scurvy got the best of him yahaharrrr. Arrr, time to catch some shut eye but remember this ye bilge rats: pillage well and beware of the Crystal Coconut!
Alestorm - Curse of the Crystal Coconut was released May 29th, 2020 from Napalm Records
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We provide thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy...and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry!