Sober and Godless is the long overdue follow up to The Rumjacks classic debut, Gangs of New Holland. We’re happy to report that Sober and Godless is a phenomenal follow up. The Rumjacks stick to their Celtic-punk roots though I would say rock hard and faster then on the debut. Nice to hear the reggae influence working it’s way into back into the band’s sound (long time fans will of course be familiar with the reggae groove on their two EPs).
Frankie McLaughlin is one hell of a great song writer and lyricist and the band tight, very tight. If you haven’t heard the the Rumjack think a 21st century Clash Meets Flogging Molly (then again if you haven’t heard the Rumjacks what are you even doing on this site? Feck-off.) If you loved Gangs of New Holland you will love Sober and Godless. Outstanding.
You’ve a penny, I’ve a pound, let’s get drunk & fuck around,
We’ll barricade the door against the world,
I can’t take another night watchin’ grown men fight,
To music made for teenage girls.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day from us here at Shite’n’Onions. On podcast #52 we got plenty of standards both old and new.
Neck – Every Day’s St Patrick’s Day
Big Bad Bollocks – Guinness
The Gobshites – I Only Drink Stout
Blaggard – Bog Songs
Blood Or Whiskey – Follow Me up to Carlow-Holt’s Way
Lexington Field – Galway Bay
Circle J – Marry Mcqueen
The Rumjacks – I’ll Tell Me Ma!
Black 47 – Vinegar Hill
The Skels – Young Roddy McCorley -Kelly the Boy from Killan
The Porters – The Rising Of The Moon
Auld Corn Brigade – Sean South from Garryowen
Smokey Bastards – My Son John
The Mahones – Give It All Ya Got (Or Forget About It)
Fiddler’s Green – Highland Road
Nogoodnix – Muirsheen Durkin
The Mighty Regis – Paddy Don’t Live In Hollywood
Devil’s Advocates – The Ones Behind the Wire
Luke Kelly – A Nation Once Again
Last summer, I was invited down to NYC to meet Jim Lockhart and Barry Devlin of Horslips fame. The boys were over making a documentary for Irish TV based on the travels of Mickey McGowan, whose 19th century autobiography Mór an tSaoil (“The Big Wheel of Life”) documents the hardships of Irish immigrants in the USA and Mickey’s travels from NYC, to the steel mills of Pennsylvania to the Klondike gold rush. Mór an tSaoil was a major inspiration to Horslips on the albums Aliens and The Man that Built America (ok, can anyone say Cornelius Larkin?)
Both Jim and Barry were fascinated to hear about the Celtic punk scene in the US and the ever expanding global scene and one thing lead to another and on St. Patrick’s day, Jim broadcasted a short documentary on Irish national radio on Celtic punk, interviewing yours truly.
I’ve been anticipating The Rumjacks debut full length for a wee while now – since the release of their last EP to be exact. The Rumjacks had set themselves a very high standard on their two EPs and were been loudly touted and not just by me as the future of Celtic punk. That high bar along with the loss of accordion player, songwriter and occasional Shite’n’Onions scribe, Will Swan had made me a tad nervous! I’m very glad to report that Gangs of New Holland is a very, very strong release and The Rumjacks firmly hold the ground between Flogging Molly and Dropkick Murphys and the Aussie twist to the excellently written lyrics give them their own identity that is rich in the image of Ned Kelly and The Eureka Stockade and imagery of Ali Hulett. The music if you haven’t heard ’em is like Shane MacGowan drinking with the boys from Rose Tattoo at a Clash gig in one of those infamous Aussie music halls where the bands have to play behind chicken wire to protect ’em from flying bottles and glasses.
14 great tracks in all and if I was to pick a few to highlight it would be:
Uncle Tommy – with it’s Flogging Molly-ish banjo intro leading to a full out moshpit floor invasion – Uncle Tommy BTW was a hell raising, rambling man.
McAlpines Fusiliers – done in the traditional ballad style with Frankie McLaughlin’s vocals rich in the authenticity of someone who knows how to sweat to make a living.
An Irish Pub song – a rowdy drinking, come brawling tune.
Green Ginger Wine – A boozie girl/guy duet in the vain of Fairytale, Living in America and Dirty Glass
Spit In The Street – “and all the posh kids roll to the soulless drivel of their pissy little mp3s “, nuff said.
A lot of effort has been made by many bands to evolve the sound of Celtic Folk-Punk music. Newer and newer bands are seeking to stand out and do something different to be the next big thing. And more often than not, the steps taken to achieve this goal are taken from the most current development in the genre.
This is where the Rumjacks differ. Their E.P., Sound as a Pound, seems to have started over. By that I mean that it is almost as if the band looked at the scene and decided to go back to the early days of the genre’s development and take their steps from there. Not surprisingly, the music here is very reminiscent of The Pogues, with a dash or two of Roaring Jack. This is not just in instrumentation, (with the inclusion of accordion and tin whistle, alongside the standard rock three-piece of guitar, bass, and drums,) but also in song structure, melody, and lyrics. And the top-notch production assures that every element here is crystal-clear.
For a collection of serious-looking, tattooed, flat-cappers, the music presented on Sound as a Pound is not what I would have expected. The attitude is not a tough-guy, “in-your-face” assault, but an attitude that seems generally respectful of the music. The end result is a refreshing and familiar reminder as to why the whole Celtic Folk-Punk sound is as great as it is.
The Rumjacks’ E.P., Sound as a Pound recently made the Number 1 position in the Shite ‘n’ Onions Ten Best of 2009. Give it a listen and you’ll know why.
Review by Christopher P. Toler, THE Blathering Gommel http://www.myspace.com/therumjacks