2016-12-19 EP REVIEW – ROGUE SCHOLARS "The King & the Maid & the Rebel" (2016)

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Rogue Scholars “The King & the Maid & the Rebel”
Release date: 15 December 2016
Running time: 23:26, 7 tracks

The King & the Maid & the Rebel” is the title of the long-awaited Rogue Scholars mini-album. Rogue Scholars hail from Gold Coast, Queensland (Australia) and they are Will Swan (lead vocals, accordion, tin whistle), Thomas D. Martin (banjo), Sean Moyles (guitars) and Govinda Gutwein (drums). Will Swan was a founding member of Catgut Mary and The Rumjacks, so for old Celtic punk fans like me he’s a legend and a guarantee that his band will be worth hearing.

Rogue Scholars mini-album consists of 7 tracks and 6 songs, given that there are two versions of “Xanadu”, the real one and the radio edit. Recently I reviewed the latest Handsome Young Strangers EP and they included a cover of a song by a kiwi pop singer. As Will was a guest on the Handsome Young Strangers debut album, I was a little bit worried. Maybe he has followed that trend and “Xanadu” was a cover of the Olivia NewtonJohn song. Fortunately, that was not the case and Rogue ScholarsXanadu” is a self-penned song showcasing Will’s accordion and Sean’s rocking guitar.

Mickey the Vermin” was advanced at the beginning of last year  and it reminds me of the earlier Rumjacks: jumping accordion, badass banjo, more electric guitar by Sean and Will switching to tin whistle too.

Champagne Girls” was also advanced at the end of 2014 . The approach is a little bit different and the vocals have a British folk rock treatment. Amazing song.

The Bank of the Roses” is the proof that there are innovative bands that are able to deliver real covers of Irish standards. A cover is not a carbon copy, and Rogue Scholars rendition of this song is brilliant.

Melbourne Tram Song” will be familiar to some people, as this number was written by Will for Catgut Mary. As Will said at an interview on Shite’n’Onions a long time ago, “Melbourne Tram Song is basically a love song I wrote for the city. It blurs the line between the love for a person and the love for a place.” I must admit that I’ve always loved this song.

To finish up, Rogue Scholars have recorded a top-notch song: “We the Ragamuffin”. Watch out! This is a catchy number, you’ll end up singing along all the day long. All the proceeds from worldwide sales of We the Ragamuffin go to the White Ribbon Campaign.

The King & the Maid & the Rebel” is a digital release and can be bought from the band’s Bancamp page. BTW, you’re right: most of the best EPs/mini-albums of the year have arrived in December.

Track list:

1. Xanadu 02:51   
2. Mickey the Vermin 03:13   
3. Champagne Girls 03:24   
4. The Banks of the Roses 03:34   
5. Xanadu (Radio Edit) 02:51   
6. Melbourne Tram Song 03:18   
7. We the Ragamuffin 04:11

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Review by Kinksmarkham

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