Flatfoot 56 is a Celtic Punk band from the windy city of Chicago that has just come out with an imaginative new EP, The Vancouver Sessions. With this EP, Flatfoot 56 include one new song; “Cain”, while presenting brand new adaptations for a handful of older songs from their catalog. For fans of The Pogues or Frank Turner, Flatfoot 56 is a raw and soulful outfit of a band. Currently, Flatfoot 56 operates as an ensemble with Tobin Bawinkel as the lead vocalist.

Songs that once held an aggressive tone — are now softer, slowed down reimaginings where a delicate focus is paid to the heart striking lyricism of the songs. These new arrangements include traditional Celtic instruments such as the Irish whistle, Uilleann Bagpipes, and Irish bones. One dynamic Flatfoot 56 pull off extremely well over the course of this EP is the use of background vocals. When the soft and soothing female backing vocals dance beside the earthly and gruff vocals of Tobin Bawinkel, it creates an impactful mix. On “Take Hold Again”, Tobin’s emotionally cracking voice and lyrics make for a touching track while aided by a somberly grounding instrumental.

The new song that Flatfoot 56 recorded for The Vancouver Sessions, “Cain” is jangly and full of character. Bawinkel’s raspy vocals used to lay down a raw and catchy “rum-dun-diddly-dum” refrain that fills the song with life. The track “How Long” has a powerful and refined sound, with really nice backing vocals to go with it. With The Vancouver Sessions, Flatfoot 56 is great at creating a comfortable and homey feeling song. On “I believe it”, Flatfoot 56 practice an appropriate stylistic revisiting, aided by flavorful bagpipes and stripped back lyrics. “Penny” starts with a really nice string intro, and is one of the best songs on the EP to capture the Celtic flavor Flatfoot 56 dedicates itself to.

The Vancouver Sessions is not necessarily a new direction for the band, but rather a stylistic pit stop. “Penny” would have to be our favorite song on the project, as it best defines the character of Flatfoot 56 and the purpose of this EP. At some points during the EP, the rough vocals don’t perfectly fit the softer style Flatfoot 56 is going for on The Vancouver Sessions. Still, there’s something nice about a mountain man voice singing his most beautiful, sad, and closely emotional songs.

Purchase the album here.

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