The Upshot: Powerhouse Celtic punk from Australia’s Outback, and we’re not talking the steakhouse, either.
BY JOHN B. MOORE
Call ‘em the Outback Pogues, because Australia has yet to put forth a finer Celtic punk band then The Rumjacks. And before you get all hung up on the Australian thing, consider the fact that in the late 1800s, a third of Australia’s population was Irish, so just because this isn’t a bunch of redheads from Boston sportin’ green clover tattoos doesn’t make them any less authentic.
On their fifth album, Sleepin’ Rough, despite slipping into some of the Celtic punk clichés from time to time (two songs with “O’” in the title?), The Rumjacks play a raucous brand of the genre combining plenty of the vim and vigor of punk rock (“Dead to Me”) with traditional Celtic instruments and a slew of great drinking songs (take your pick).
The band definitely excels at the up tempo songs, but shows some depth here as well on slower tracks, like “’Eight Beers’ McGee” and “Murder Shanty” with the delicate tin whistle intro. Lyrically the band has taken some big steps since their earlier efforts and the proof is in a song like “Les Darcy,” tackling the idea of religion in an authentic matter. There are little surprises on Sleepin’ Rough, but that’s not a bad thing. More than any of their other records, this one catches a band that is confident in its sound.
DOWNLOAD: “Patron Saint O’Thieves,” “A Fistful of O’Roses” and “Les Darcy”