The P.R. copy on the back cover of Gaelic Storm's self-titled 1998 debut credits the band's enthusiasm and verve with landing them the gig that brought them to the attention of mainstream America: their flashy cameo appearance in James Cameron's megablockuster film Titanic. The album does indeed bear out that claim. This foot-tapping collection of jigs, reels, and pub songs is nothing if not energetic, and it's easy to see how the band could captivate and even thrill a pub audience. The record is full of spirited jams like the vigorous Steve Twigger guitar solo "The Storm," which is the only original track on the album. There is also a healthy quantity of barmy drinking songs, and those are always fun. "Johnny Jumpup" is a particularly rollicking tune, a cautionary tale about the evils of cider drinkin' that undoubtedly has driven more than a few listeners to cider drinkin'. The more familiar "Tell Me Ma" and "Rocky Road to Dublin" are also performed with gusto. Far more gusto than craft, actually, and that's the biggest shortcoming of Gaelic Storm. Their musicianship is fetching, but not very polished and their rowdy pass-me-another-Guinness vocals -- while undeniably entertaining -- don't carry as well in the living room as they would at the pub. Nevertheless, this hyper Celtic jam session is probably a must have memoir for fans who have been lucky enough to catch their live act.
AllMusic Review by Evan Cater