The Slaters Fresh Pint

Celtic fiddle joins Tex-Mex accordion for a lively dust-up on this debut album from Montreal trio the Slaters. And when the banjo and steel guitar turn up, an all-out bar brawl ensues. A wide selection of working class folk styles stand shoulder to shoulder on the disc — the toe-tapping, Dubliners-style of "Stayin’ Till We Die” is followed by the spunky, heavily klezmer-tinged "The Blackbird Fields.” Gravelly vocals, raw as a skinned knee in their best moments, cover topics ranging from the Spanish Civil War to Canadian mining history and turn even the driest subjects into rollicking barnburners. A pair of quirky instrumental covers ("Flaco’s Waltz” and "Smoking in St. Henri”) round out the collection nicely. Fresh Pint goes down like a tall cold one on a hot summer afternoon. (Kettledrum)