Founders of Celtic Movement release 25th Anniversary album
The Real McKenzies chose to celebrate their 25th anniversary with the release of their 11th full length album, Beer and Loathing. One of the true founders of the Celtic movement, this punk folk band’s latest release sticks to the band’s traditional sound: punk with a Celtic punch. The band is signed to Fat Wreck Chords, who describe Beer and Loathing as “rebellious, poignant and achingly heartfelt with an extra helpings of Scottish charm and wit to boot.”
Beer and Loathing is amalgamation of the best sounds in Celtic punk. Over the years, the band has seen a cast of characters circle through, with up to 100 musicians playing with the band over the past two decades. Paul McKenzie is the band’s only remaining original member. These days, lead singer McKenzie is joined by Asopy Luison on bagpipes, Jono Jak on guitar and Troy Zak on bass. This current team of The Real McKenzies are most focused on perfecting and refining their explosive sound into a more distinct and unique style. Lightning ‘70s guitar rips coincide with traditional bagpipes and cultivated vocals in a whirlwind of song that sweeps the listener onto their feet and into a jig.
The legendary Canadian band opens Beer and Loathing with a beating traditional Scottish melody. “A Widow’s Watch” features flawless bagpipes, marching drums and epic guitar to set the stage for the listener. Such a procession adequately prepares the ear for the immediate burst of hard rock that comes with the subsequent song, “Overtoun Bridge.” On a softer, and more humorous note, “Cock up Your Beaver” makes use of a quieter guitar and flute sound, adding an intimate touch of emotion.
The best songs of this album arrive toward the end. The last four tracks, titled “Whose Child Is This,” “The Ballad of Cpl. Hornburg,” “The Cremation of Sam Mcgee” and “A Seafarers Return” are excellent both in production and content. As the album proceeds, the songs become less theatrical and more sincere. Not only are the lyrics more thoughtful, they are also catchy, perfectly blending punk, folk, Celtic and rock influences.
Each song in Beer and Loathing is purposeful in its tone and message. The Real McKenzies utilize the same guitar sound throughout the album, carrying a common rock theme through the diaspora of instrumental sounds. Lyrically, this album is very strong. The ability of this band to explicitly storytell is remarkable—an uncommon trait in the punk genre—an indicative of Celtic tradition and experienced musicians.
Beer and Loathing has the ability to make the listener forget about their everyday worries and get lost in a chorus of fast-paced sing-along anthems. Feel free to ditch any music without bagpipes in favor of The Real McKenzies’ punk masterpiece, and say goodbye to dull music forever.