Remember The Pirates? Like so many bands that are around for such a long time, the occasional change in personnel simply comes with the territory. After the passing of Mick Green, The Pirates long serving 90’s rhythm section, BJ Anders and Romek Parol, welcomed new frontman Pete Edmunds and reformed as The Spellkasters. Their debut album, aptly named ‘Kastin The Spell’, is bound to win them ever more fans.

P. Edmunds (lead vocals, guitar), BJ Anders (bass vocals), and R. Patrol (percussion) are serving up eleven stonkin’ songs, all of which are anything but mere tribute fodder. The invigorating mix consists of covers and of originals, and with sounds as varied as blues rock, rock ‘n’ roll, and Dr. Feelgood style pub rock. The pub rock thing serves as a ‘tip of the hat’ to Pete Edmunds old pal Wilko Johnson… it’s therefore no surprise that a couple of tracks, like ‘Going Back Home’ and ‘All Through The City/Down By The Jetty’ are Wilko compositions. Rest assured, the Spellkasters mesmerising take on the numbers do Wilko’s originals justice!

There are more unexpected gems in store here, for example the fabulously bluesy Muddy Waters number ‘Rollin and Tumblin’ (complete with slide guitar), or the particularly sly and sleazy ‘Vodka Headed Woman’ – all smouldering away oh so nicely. On a similar par is ‘Bad Blood And Voodoo’.
Other scorchers are opener ‘Louise Louise’ and also ‘I Can Tell’ – beat whipping speedily, but perhaps the biggest surprise is a kickin’ cover version of ‘Casting My Spell’ (oh, the irony!), a number originally penned in 1959 by The Johnson Brothers. The Spellkasters really have cranked up this ditty, so much so that in parts it’s barely recognisable. Good work all round here!

Bonus tracks ‘Don’t Munchen It’ and ‘Gibson Martin Fender’ both go back to the original Pirates line-up, and are an obvious tribute to the late Mick Green.

Expect a follow-up album at some point; well, at least I hope there will be one! On that note, I shall cast my spell.