Pop culture has always feared the traditional, despite the fact that most modern pop music has stuck with a format that has made any number of undeserving artists rich. Such fear is likely a function of conditioning, as most associate “traditionals” with dreadful school recitals that we’ve all endured as both participants and observers.
So it should come as no surprise that Irish folk rockers The Indulgers are not charting in the Top 40 or making impromptu appearances on the talk show circuit. This lack of visibility isn’t necessarily indicative of the band’s prowess or potential. Rather it’s the reality that there’s a time and place for The Indulgers brand of music. That time and place is generally whenever there’s a live audience and wherever there’s a party.
Critiquing an album like the group’s “High Road to Heaven” is fairly futile, given that I believe discs of this ilk serve more as a reminder of a “good time had” and less of a “check out this groundbreaking work” revelation. Let’s face it – not even Irish punkers like Flogging Molly can make a case that their music is more powerful in the studio than it is on stage.
That being said, The Indulgers “High Road to Heaven” is still enjoyable, offering everything from upbeat jigs like “One-Two-Three” to ballads such as “Like Those Who Went Before.” You’ll even find a bit of honky tonk in tunes like “Hard Back Dollar.” It’s certainly a departure from what most of us are used to, and a welcome departure at that. Just the same, I have to believe the real value in The Indulgers’ music is on stage.