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.
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
There used to be a commercial when I was a kid for an electric razor and basically the premise was that the razor gave such a good shave that the old American geezer in the commercial “bought the company”.
Hung, Drawn and Portered is the musical equivalent of that 1970s razor – so good the I was willing to put down the cash to finance the release of the EP. 5 tracks in all: 3 fast folk/punkers with strong Australian roots, an incredible cover of the old Belfast skipping rhyme, “I’ll Tell Me Ma” and the amazing ska/reggie meets Irish of the appropriately titled “Paddy goes to Babylon”
Buy this EP. You won’t hear a better new band this year and I’m not saying that because I put my own hard earned cash down but because it’s good enough for me to put my cash down on.