The Real McKenzies: Oot & Aboot

First off, how ’bout those Warpipes, and thundering drums, on that last track “Taylor Made”? It’s a perfect example of a theory of mine… (and I’m sure about a million others before me, agree!) The theory is that the drums represent the heartbeat, and the bagpipes represent the soul, and when it’s done right, it’s simply an overwhelming feeling that hits you deep in the gut. You know you’re truly alive when you feel it. If you’ve ever witnessed up close a huge crowd of marching bagpipes and drums then you should know what I’m talking about. In my personal opinion, the last track, “Taylor Made” gave me that exact same feeling.That song could have lasted 10 – 15 minutes, and i’d still be happy with it. I ask all you reading this review to get the album “Oot & Aboot”, go home and turn up the volume to 50 and start with track 13. If you don’t get that feeling I’m talking about, then go far, far, away & shoot yourself, or better yet, lay down on some railroad tracks.

Sorry about that, got a wee bit carried away…On with the album review, if I had one word to describe the new album it would be, catchy. I mean that in a good way, mind you. I’m seriously impressed with the vocal melodies scattered throughout this new album. I’m also impressed with the overall sound on “Oot & Aboot” The dual guitars are clean, Paul McKenzie’s vocals are solid, and the bagpipes are interwoven perfectly, not to mention the bass and drums hold everything down like they should. You can tell they had some professionals in the studio with them this time, unlike some previous efforts in the past. Have I mentioned catchy yet?

“Oot & Aboot” starts out with a damn fine pirate number “‘Cross The Ocean” and in my book, every good Real McKenzies album MUST have at least one pirate tune on it.

“Droppin’ Like Flys” is more or less an ode to all the punk bands of the past. Speaking about the unfortunate and untimely deaths of Joey & Dee Dee Ramone (among others.)

“Ye Banks And Braes (O’ Bonnie Doon)” is one of the two traditional tracks on the album originally written by the master Scottish poet, Robbie Burns, it good to see another one of auld Rabbie’s poem’s alive and kicking again.

“Get Lost” is one of those catchy tracks on the album i’ve been talking about. It’s also one of the songs the lads played during the Fat Wreck Chords tour earlier this year.

“Lest We Forget” is a good follow up to “Get Lost” it’s like a one-two punch of how good the vocal melodys have become. If I heard everything right, I think it’s about women!

“Heather Bells” is another traditional ditty, it’s also one of the stronger tracks on the album, is more or less an ode to the Scottish homeland, an ode to a land that we long to be! I’m sure anyone displaced or homesick can relate to this track no matter where the homeland may be! Ahh! I need a vacation!

“Dance Around The Whisky” is the most folky tune on this album. Centered around an acoustic guitar, It’s a drunken sing-a-long about Scotch whisky. Complete with the background pub atmosphere. One of my favorites. It almost reminds me of earlier folky stuff off of “Clash Of The Tartans”

“Oot & Aboot” I hate to break it to all the Canucks reading this, but, YES! You do have an accent when you say Oot & Aboot!! Can I have some Canadian bacon and maple syrup now?

“Shit Outta Luck” The melody reminds me of “King O’ Glasgow” It also reminds me of alot about my luck lately! Is it unlucky to accidentally break a mirror on Friday the 13th? What the fuck? I’m shit outta luck!

“Jennifer Que” Hell yeah! the fastest, hardest-hitting track on the entire album. For the idiots that think the Real McKenzies have gotten soft. Take a listen to this one. This is how some of the older stuff would have sounded like if it was produced a little cleaner.

“Drink The Way I Do” (The same song that’s one the ecard that I emailed everybody with!) What happens when you drink the way I do? Simply put, a hangover, that’s what will happen.

“The Night The Lights Went Out In Scotland” April 16th, 1745. The Battle Of Culloden. The Scottish Jacobites were slaughtered by the English. The Jacobite rebellion was more or less brought to it’s knees, yet it’s still not forgotten. Fuck no, never forgotten! After the battle of Culloden, The Highlanders were eventually kicked off their lands, and forced to leave the only way of life they have ever known. At this moment, I raise my glass to those displaced Highlanders.

“Taylor Made” an instumental song using the instruments of war. – Hey Paul! Can you guys record a half-hour version of this track and send it to me? Hey Matt! Brad! Whaddya think??

September 2003

Review By Brian Gillespie

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