Rovers Ahead

Always The Sinner, Never The Saint

Written by: PP on 24/01/2014 22:20:12

The dissemination of Irish culture across the world is truly one of the prime examples of globalization. You won't find many cities in the world without an Irish pub, St Patrick's Day festivities, or as is more relevant to, a band celebrating all aspects of the Irish alcohol-fueled lifestyle through jolly folk punk melodies accompanied with plenty of traditionally played mandolin, banjo, pen whistle, and violins. In Denmark that band is Rovers Ahead, who since 2007 have sporadically shown up at St Patrick's Day events and elsewhere spreading their happy-go-lucky brand of party-flavored folk punk in pubs across Copenhagen. They dub themselves an 'Irish pub punk' band, a fine description of what they essentially are, given their vocalist Nathan Corcoran's (an Irish expat himself) rather football hooligan-esque appearance, a voice that sounds like a few too many Guiness have been knocked back over the years, and lyrics about drunken debauchery.

"Always The Sinner, Never The Saint" is their debut album, though six of the twelve tracks have already appeared in demo form on "Candy Farm Sessions" and "Subversive Sessions" and EPs in 2009 and 2010, respectively. Though fans may already own some of these songs, they certainly won't have them in this format, as a real studio has done wonders to the quality of their expression. The mandolin and the banjo are now much more nuanced in the songs, and given their playful tune, they are sure to get the party started alongside the folk style violin melodies that are also heavily present in the mix. Material from Dropkick Murphys, The Pogues, and early records by Flogging Molly act as the foundation behind the Rovers Ahead soundscape, and while that of course means "Always The Sinner, Never The Saint" primarily contains textbook folk punk, their songs are strong enough to stand on their own and get the party started.

And oftentimes they are much more than that. "Bonnie Lass" is simply great fun and sure to get you to lock your arms, get your Irish hats on, as it doesn't get much more authentic than this song when it comes to folk punk. Elsewhere, hand clapping, classic Irish/celtic melodies, and quirky lyrical snippets ensure that you'll be participating in every way when their live show rolls into town. Old, high tempo classics like "One Mad Night At The Pub" and "Went Out To Get A Drink (But Ended Up In Jail)" are revisited and rewired to sound fresh and even more rowdy than before, whereas slower songs like "Ghost Of Anne Reily" and "Rose Full Of Thorns" recall Dropkick Murphys classics such as "Johnny, I Hardly Knew Ya" in their melody lines. Common to songs both old and new is a fun-loving, party-fueled atmosphere that's best described as a jolly good time. The songs are extremely upbeat and danceable, which means attending a show by these guys is sure to be like going to a drunken St Patrick's Day party every night they play, but especially during the weekends when you can kick back a few extra whiskeys to boost your dance skills to new levels. The old songs that were very good already back on the demos now sound excellent, and the new songs don't disappoint either, so overall Rovers Ahead deliver a sublime folk punk expression on their debut that is perfectly capable of contesting against the international names in the genre on even footing.


Download: Bonnie Lass, Ghost Of Anne Reily, Went Out To Get A Drink (But Ended Up In Jail), Day Of Defeat
For the fans of: Dropkick Murphys, Flogging Molly, The Pogues, Smokey Bastard
Listen: Facebook

Release date 07.02.2014

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