The Rumjacks are a Celtic punk band originally from Sydney, Australia. Within the last few years, they have relocated to Europe, and brought in a new lead vocalist, Mike Rivkees. On February 11th, the band dropped their latest release, the EP Brass for Gold.
It’s almost odd to call this an “EP,” as it has eight songs; I remember when eight songs were standard for LPs, but no complaints. As Rivkees says on the band’s main site, “Brass for Gold is as much as an EP can possibly offer and still be called an EP.”
“One for the Road” was the first single off Brass for Gold. It’s good, I like it, and squarely fits with the fastball-down-the-middle Celtic punk sound that The Rumjacks nail. But I’m much more a fan of the opening track, “Bounding Main.” It’s exactly the kind of thing you want to hear when you first walk into the bar. And the video for the tune [embedded below] is a lot of fun.
“Bloodsoaked in Chorus” is driven by a ska-ish bounce and punctuated with sing-along gang vocals. “Kicking Soles” brings us closer to folk-punk with mandolin and a tin whistle, a sound in the key of Flogging Molly with a chorus that’s just a bit reminiscent of Social Distortion. “On a Somber Saturday” is a nice tonal shift away from the lighter bar tunes, giving the album some emotional ballast while maintaining the energy of the album as a whole. “Across the Water” is a little more straight-up pop punk, showing the band’s range with in the sub-genre. And “Falling Back” wraps the EP with the hopeful melancholy that seems to almost define Celtic punk as a whole; it’s the kind of tune that sounds crafted for ending a show.
The Rumjacks are opening for Dropkick Murphys on a tour running from February 21 through March 20. Dropkick Murphys are up there with Flogging Molly for automatic ticket buys, so if at all able I’ll definitely be catching this show.
After that, The Rumjacks are kicking off a headlining tour from May 1 to May 28. This latter tour is of especial interest to yours truly, as they’re playing with Chicago’s very own Flatfoot 56; when it comes to Celtic punk they’re a personal favorite, and I’ve always got to support the hometown team.
The Rumjacks are certainly in the same pantheon, especially after their last LP, Hestia. I’ve always liked The Rumjacks, but I love Hestia. It’s like they found fifth gear on that album; it grabbed me right from song one, and the whole album is stuffed with memorable killers. And with Brass for Gold, we have a motivation to get the band back on the road. Good times lie ahead…
Stream the new EP here!