The Rumjacks : Gangs Of New Holland

2010 : Laughing Outlaw
Format : CD

Here’s another review that might seem slightly out of place here, but I’ve a deep love for the Celtic Folk Punk sound. And as I’ve said before, “Fuck you…it’s my Haus”. Heh, get your own blogspot er something. And if there’s ever a disc that makes me want to throw down a few pints and offer up a few middle fingers, it’s this one. I’ve been about to wear a laser hole in the thing since ordering it from Oz a few months back. Not a week goes by that I don’t listen to it at least once. It’s that good.

These five lads from New South Wales, Australia had a couple of decent EP’s under there belt before this album, but this full-length has them really finding their own sound. Sure, there’s a ton of bands out there throwing in banjo, a tin whistle and a bodran over some half-assed punk rock riffs, but this album is head and shoulders above anything I’ve heard in years. I’m talking a classic in league with “Red Roses For Me”, “Rum, Sodomy and the Lash”, “Sing Loud, Sing Proud” or “Drunken Lullabies”. These are my classics, by the way.

The whole band is fantastic, but vocalist Frankie McLaughlin’s pack-a-day, pint-a-day delivery immediately pulls you in. And a special nod to Adam Kenny on mandolin and banjo. Seriously, I actually toyed with the idea of learning to play the banjo after listening to this disc a few times. The band is more than adapt whether exploring folkier tunes, like “My Time Again”, a track that always puts a lump in my throat recalling memories of my own ancestors and their struggles,  or the ripsaw precision on “Spit In The Street“. The latter would be at home on any Social Distortion album and features some of my favorite lines:

Where the railway cops lay into the drunks, and the people never seem to see.
And all the posh kids roll to the soulless drivel of a pissy little mp3.

Not everything can be about drinking, heh. Regardless if it’s about the fears, the fun or the struggles or strife, and whether it’s from a modern or historical perspective….these are true working class anthems.

Like I stated above, this is a classic. I just wish they had a bit more exposure in North America. I wasn’t able to find a single distro carrying the disc, but you can score a copy directly from the band or via the label. Yea, it’s a bit pricey for us Yanks, but it’s worth every last penny.

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