Vancouver BC’s venerable Scottish torch bearers are at it once again with a new release. 2012’s Westwinds gives us 14 new tales of wild seas, bad luck, foolish ways and the drink.
For the uninitiated, The Real McKenzies are a Canadian Celt-Core band with a focus on Scotland as opposed to the more or less omnipresent Irish variety. The lads bring a be-kilted, bagpipe heavy, and a Mike Meyers-esque ala “So I married an Axe Murderer” variety of Scottish charm to the genre. For those in the know, Westwinds brings with it the quality and character that you’ve come to expect.
As with many bands that have any sort of duration, there is maturity in the songwriting especially as it pertains to the ability to work together and the quality of craftsmanship. In other words, the song writing isn’t suffering from age or boredom. While all the tracks are top notch in their own right, a few that standout for me are the opener, “The Tempest” and the self-deprecation of track 6, “Burnout”.
In the end, what you have is another fine release by the best damn Scottish-Canadian band in the world.
It is hard to review Celt-Punk music of any pedigree without referencing The Pogues. This is especially true when the CD is the new release from London based Celtic Folk Punkers, Neck. The obvious tie-ins are there: Tin whistles, Irish themes, traditional covers et al. There really is no denying the obvious influence, but influences aside, “Come Out Fighting”, the new release from Neck, still stands on its own two feet. This, their first official US release (in this modern age, do national boundaries really mean that much for music relases?) proffers 14 tracks of dashing daring and swaggering and a cover of MacAlpine’s Fusiliers (can’t go wrong with that one). The blend of modern and traditional keeps things lively and encourages the whisky to flow freely. Admittedly I have a particular bent for punked up traditional Celt/Folk sounds, but I imagine that I’m not exactly alone in that. If you’re a fan of Dropkick and/or Flogging Molly then “Come Out Fighting” is a perfect addition for your audio collection. On a slightly related note, the tin whistle parts throughout track four, “Tink” could easily find a home in an Irish style cover of Centerfold from J. Geils Band. I think it’d make a bang up cover. So if any of you up-and-coming McBands out there want to grab a sweet idea, it’s all yours. Bottom line: Solid Irish influenced Rock and Roll with a leaning towards the Punk side of rock. I would have gone slightly higher on the star-o-meter, but for a couple of too slow tracks, but hell, that is my call to make. Come Out troid a théann!