Sound — 10
First off, I noticed their wasn't a review to this album on this website, which I thought was a shame, as it is a very good album. Also their are some glowing reviews of bands like Dropkick Murphys, who were influenced by The Real McKenzies, and the McKenzies could wel be classed as the inventors of celtic punk! Now the album's sound, where to start, how about balls to the wall punk rock sound, with bagpipes! The guitars are mostly loud and distorted, and surprisingly features some impressive lead work, that never crosses the line between real interesting guitar work, and mindless widdling. The bass is pumped up and well constructed, the drums form a steady back bone to the raw punk skeleton, and the bagpipes, well I don't know how I could have listened to punk without bagpipes before, they intertwine with the lyrics and chord progressions, never sounding out of place or too folky. Also there are some more explorative moments sound wise, featuring instruments such as a mandolin, but these are rarely used and when done so create a very interesting effect. If you want a definition of the bands sound, think the Ramones, with an aging johnny rotten singing, blasting out a bunch of folk songs, filled with sheer punk attitude and dirty words.
Lyrics — 8
Lyrically, its not a bad album, theres's no socially minded rants on this album, which not done carefully, can be really annoying. But some of the lyrics are quite clever, and fun, which is important as this is a feel good punk album, but not cheesy if that's what feel good means to you, its not cheesy, just it doesnt go on about slitting wrists. The best songs lyrically are The Catalpa, Will you no come back again, and Farewell to Novia Scotia. Unfortunately, these 3 songs were not written by the McKenzies themselves, and are traditional scottish songs, if you are disappointed by this, don't be, the McKenzies still add their own inimatatable twist to these songs and make them seem fresh and relevant. If your still not satisfied and want lyrics written by the band themselves, check out Smokin Bowl, Best Day Until Tomorrow (featuring some great lyrics about punk minimilism and anti-possession) and The Skeleton and The Tailor, a catchy song regailing us with a song about a tailor spending a night in a haunted house. My one complaint is that some of the lyrics seem a bit lazy and get a bit annoying after a few listens, for example I Hate My Band, which lyrics would have forced me to skip this song if it didnt have one of the best solos on it. Apart from that, no major slip ups on the album lyrically, just rock solid punk.
Overall Impression — 9
This is a great album, that I listen to regularly and can listen to it all the way through. I would say, contrary to popular belief, doesn't just equal but betters Dropkick Murphys latest offering (which is still a good album all the same). If you like Dropkick Murphys, Flogging Molly, and classic punk, check out this album. Or if your tired of these posers playing polished pop and hiding it behind punk clothing, also try this album. Don't be put off by the idea of bagpipes, its not as crazy as it sounds. In my opinion the best songs are, Smokin Bowl, which probably best represents this bands unique vision and sound, or Pour Decisions, a guitar and bagpipe duel, simply brilliant, or the album finisher The Catalpa, one of the slower moments, but fits in with the album perfectly and is a great closer to the album. My only complaints could be that this alnums too short, clocking in at just over half an hour, and that one song was not needed, The Ale Is Dear, a bagpipe instrumental, great pipe work, just unneccessary. If this album was stolen or lost I would be destraught as I got this album in america and I live in the Yorkshire, UK, where this album is unavailable. They may be in their '50s but these boys sure can rock!