The Shanes

The Haunted House of Polka

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While three tracks from this album appeared on the 1999 compilation Polka 4 U: 5 Years of Hard Polka 1993-1998, in their demo state it would be two more years until their official release on The Haunted House of Polka on Germany's Pinorrekk Records. This self-produced album introduces new drummer Stephan Zender as well as a new record label and is the Shanes' first studio effort in five years but stylistically the group hasn't changed since their string of four early- to mid-'90s releases. They established themselves with their debut Songs From the Urban Country Hell as Europe's foremost ambassadors of gypsy/Hungarian/German/folk/polka/punk rock and haven't changed dramatically since. This album is probably their most cleanly produced and most studio-sounding effort since they had years to prepare for its eventual release. Perhaps too much time had elapsed from these songs' inception to their release as the three tracks alluded to earlier ("Polka 2000," "Padam Padam Polka," and "I'm so Happy and I Don't Know Why") lost the urgency and irascibility of their former selves. Nevertheless, an over-produced Shanes album still possesses more authenticity, edge, and conviction than most 21st century alt-rockers. When the fiddle and accordion meet the punk and polka rhythms, it's the future of folk-rock, worldbeat, and punk all rolled into one cool package.

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