Four Out Of Five Stars The Montréal Gazette April 8,2008 EXCLAIM Magazine July 2008 The Slaters Fresh Pint By Rachel Sanders 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) With a collective forty years or more experience in the roots and punk scenes of Montréal, Vancouver and Berlin it is no great surprise that The Slaters have made a debut record of such diversity. What may shock, though, is how the group manage to sound uniquely themselves while integrating so many disparate influences into the eleven songs on Fresh Pint. Produced, mixed and mastered with the help of Canadian musical mainstays Marc L'esperance and Craig Northey, the trio of multi-instrumentalists are joined by Brendan Griffin on pedal steel, Laura Lee Officer on violin and viola and Miles Perkin on contrabass. With a backwards nod to the folk music past of Canada sharing space with a probable roadmap for it's future, the album remains both firmly rooted in the geography of the band's native Montréal and engaged with the musics and politics of the world beyond. The first song, The Churches Of Spain, revisits perennial folksong subject The Spanish Civil War; Red Shelley is a tribute to the 19th century radical poet; Stayin' Till We Die an hommage to the working class anglophones of southwest Montréal who didn't join the exodus of the past thirty years; The Blackbird Fields was written after hearing the story of a girl from Verdun, My Cunning Right Hand that of a girl from Israel; Flaco's Waltz is the band's rather Swissed-up version of the traditional Swiss Waltz from el maestro of Tex-Mex accordion, Flaco Jimenez; Iron Ore By '54 is their music to folk pioneer Alan Mills' lyrics about the building of the railway into northern Quèbec and Labrador; So Blue is from Glasgow songwriter Tony Rose who plays with Berlin scrungegrass outfit Two Dollar Bash; Carpenter's Son started life as a Christmas song, but now seems a little more like an Easter tune; Smoking In St. Henri is a version of a cocek from the Balkans; and, Mexican Radio revisits the left-field 80's hit from Wall Of Voodoo.