Album Review: The Rumjacks – “Sober and Godless”

At first listen, The Rumjacks sound like any other generic Celtic punk band. Not that there is anything wrong with that, because who isn’t a sucker for the pairing of electric guitar and banjo? But upon closer inspection these Australian Celtic punks manage to pack a refreshing punch that has been missing from recent releases in the genre into their sophomore effort, Sober And Godless.

“Home Rule” kicks off with a whimsical tin whistle before delving into an aggressive, bass driven-tune. With heavy melodic influences and the infectious chorus, “Home Rule” is easily one of the most standout tracks on Sober and Godless.

“Blows and Unkind Words” serves as an ode to the mandolin, beginning as a slow and serene ballad that is complimented by whiskey-soaked vocals. It eventually builds into a campy tune that unapologetically calls out those who go to shows with violence on their agenda. The Rumjacks point out the irony of “watching grown men fight to music made for teenage girls.”

While obviously rooted in the traditional instrumentation of Irish folk-music, The Rumjacks also manage to add other influences into Sober and Godless. “Barred For Life” is reminiscent of Rancid circa “…And Out Came The Wolves,” blending the most lovable aspects of third wave ska and oi with their trademark sound. Even reggae has found its way halfway through the record on “Home”.

The Rumjacks do Celtic punk well while adding different influences into the genre to keep Sober and Godless interesting. If you are a fan of a good banjo lick, I would recommend this album.


RIYL: Dropkick Murphy’s, Flogging Molly, Flatfoot 56

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