2017-03-02 ALBUM REVIEW – THE REAL McKENZIES "Two Devils Will Talk" (2017)

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The Real McKenzies “Two Devils Will Talk” Stomp Records STMP137
Release date: March 3rd, 2017
Running time: 36:22, 14 tracks

 
The Real McKenzies are one of the top 3 Celtic punk bands from the post-Pogues era, together with Dropkick Murphys and Flogging Molly. The Real McKenzies’ music differs from those and other seminal acts such as The Tossers, The Mahones, Fiddler’s Green or Greenland Whalefishers, since RMcK were the first band to blend punk rock and bagpipes and to focus on Scottish folk instead of Irish folk. Being an innovative band, they have influenced a lot of acts from both sides of the pond, for instance Pipes and Pints, Die Dødelsäcke, Farler’s Fury or XIII Krauss to name a few.

The Real McKenzies and fellow Canadians The Mahones have some similarities. Both of them are without any doubt the hardest working bands in the scene and both of them are a revolving door of musicians. Following Wikipedia, The Real McKenzies line-ups include 36 members and 8 guests. After releasing the acoustic live album “Shine Not Burn” in 2010, The RMcK reached their peak in 2012 with their 7th studio album, “Westwinds”. I felt that maybe this would be the last studio album for a while and that the following albums would be a proper live album (“Pissed Tae Th’ Gills” dates from 2002) and a “best of” compilation album. I was wrong, as The RMcK released another classic album in 2015, “Rats in the Burlap” and they decided to record a brand new studio album to celebrate their XXVth anniversary instead of the usual greatest hits album.

In the last years some crucial members have left The Real McKenzies, mainly old members and songwriters “Dirty” Kurt Robertson and Mark “Bone” Boland. So, the current line-up consists of Paul McKenzie (lead vocals), Troy “Vlad” Zak (bass, vocals), Luis “Aspy” (bagpipes, vocals), Dan Garrison (guitar, vocals), Jono Jack (guitar, vocals) and Dan Stenning (drums). Even if Gord Taylor is still listed as band member, together with Matt “McNasty” Hawley,  apparently he has not written new songs for the new album. Then, new member Dan Garrison would have been the main songwriter on “Two Devils Will Talk”.

So, what about the songs? My personal faves are the opening track “Due West” that reminds me of Mudmen’s old material (video HERE); the brilliant rendition of Stan Rogers classic song “Northwest Passage”, “The Comeback” (showcasing the band’s trademark sound), the new rendition of “Scots Wa Ha’e” (the same song which was originally the opening number of their debut album back in 1995) and “Fuck the Real McKenzies”, a piss-take where fellow bands The Pogues, The Mahones, Flogging Molly, The Rumjacks and Roughneck Riot are mentioned.

Other amazing number that follow the band’s legacy would be “Weyburn”, “One Day”, “One Man Voyage” and “The Town”. Special mention to “Seafarers”, a song that “listsThe RMcK’s discography ”The rats take a bite, the westwinds guide our night, for the clash now unleashed, oot and aboot, on the seas, under fire, we’ve had lots, about 10.000 shots, we keep straight as were learnt, to shine never burn

Regarding the packaging, once again, The RMcK album comes in a digipack with all the lyrics to the songs, line-up, studio credits and thank you section.

Two Devils will Talk” is a great addition to The Real McKenzies’ discography. Maybe the sound is not as good as that of “Westwinds” and the songs are not as diverse as those on “Rats in the Burlap”, but obviously is a kick-ass XXVth anniversary celebration album. Paul and his bandmates could have taken the easy road and deliver a live album or a best of compilation. However, they have been honest and have given the perfect gift to their fans: a brand new studio album.

Track listing:

01. Due West 02:38   
02. Weyburn 02:13   
03. One Day 02:43   
04. Seafarers 02:56   
05. Northwest Passage 03:59   
06. Float 02:22   
07. One Man Voyage 02:21   
08. Sail Again 02:26   
09. The Town 02:31   
10. Pedals 02:30   
11. Drunkards Lament 02:28   
12. Fuck The Real McKenzies 01:46   
13. The Comeback 02:26
14. Scots Wha Ha’e 02:56

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Review by Kinksmarkham

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