The Rumjacks


Written by: PP on 30/05/2021 16:41:50

Replacing a lead vocalist is a daunting task. Few bands come out of it with their sound - and consequently their fan base - intact. In the case of Aussie Celtic punks The Rumjacks, the addition of Mike Rivkees seems to have had the opposite effect. Where the band's previous four albums were all decent folk-punk records, there was always a lingering gimmick vibe attached to them that drew like-for-like comparisons to early Flogging Molly records. You know, the ones where everything was basically about the Irish Rover. Fun records, but while Dropkick Murphys were busy playing arenas on the back of records like "The Meanest Of Times", The Rumjacks were left playing the club venue circuit, save for festival appearances here and there.

What Rivkees brings into the mix is much-needed gravelly grit that automatically gives The Rumjacks a sense of charisma that was missing to an extent from earlier records. His darker bark gives the band a hardcore-laden, roughened edge that makes the pint-and-accordion fueled sailor punk feel more like football hooligan anthems than your typical pub punk songs. Much like Flatfoot 56 and Street Dogs before them, Rivkees' in-your-face, shouty style of vocals oozes of raw energy that encompasses a bagpipe-driven song like "Sainted Millions" in an arena-sized, furious sing-along atmosphere.

Yes, it's still less hurlum-hey than Dropkick Murphys with a stronger focus on traditional folk-punk instrumentation, but the more aggressive lining is absolutely for the better. With mandolins, bouzouki, and plenty of accordion and bagpipe, the expression is now not just about a booze-fueled Irish party, but this time wrapped in a rebellious spirit. As a result, songs like "Hestia", "Through These Iron Sights", "Naysayers" and others come across as high-energy Celtic punk onslaughts that this time around should push The Rumjacks to new heights.

That said, at fourteen songs and almost 50 minutes in length, "Hestia" would certainly have benefited from being about four songs shorter for maximum impact. As it stands now, there are a few skippable tracks that drag out the album longer than is necessary. Still, the majority of songs are solid, suggesting The Rumjacks should start climbing higher on festival billings based on this record as word spreads around.

Download: Sainted Millions, Hestia, Through These Iron Sights, Naysayers
For the fans of: Dropkick Murphys, Street Dogs, Flatfoot 56, The Real McKenzies, Rovers Ahead
Listen: Facebook

Release date 12.03.2021
ABC Records

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