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10,000 Shots

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Album Review

Evidently, Fat Mike's a pretty big fan of the Real McKenzies. He signed them to Fat Wreck for 2005's 10,000 Shots, and even played bass for most of the album under the alias "Fat McMichael." Other than their shifting lineup, though, the McKenzies remain largely unchanged from the sound of past records like Oot & Aboot or Loch'd & Loaded. Shots is full of revved-up Scottish traditionals and revivalist punk originals, and the endearingly gruff Paul McKenzie leads the way. The rousing "Pour Decision" puts bagpipes over Social Distortion rhythm guitar, and Mike Ness would certainly be happy with McKenzie's sentiment. "A punk musician just ain't as cute at 53," he sings. "I have forsaken money makin'/Yeah, you still wish you were me." It's this self-deprecating pride that separates the McKenzies from similarly hybridist groups like Dropkick Murphys or Flogging Molly. They're looser, more ragged, maybe a little less reverent. It's not that McKenzie is less proud of his Scottish Canadian heritage, or less committed to old favorites like "Farewell to Nova Scotia" or songs set to the words of legendary Scottish bard Robert Burns. But like Fat Mike and NOFX, there's a rambling, rapid-fire sense of humor to the Real McKenzies' work, heard here in "Bugger Off," say, or the good-natured slag "I Hate My Band" ("They've cost me my dog, my job and my wife!"). Matt MacNasty's bagpipe is particularly impressive over the melodic hardcore stutter of "Skeleton and the Tailor," and "Catalpa" is acoustic with impressive harmony vocals and mandolin leads, while the punchy, triumphant "Best Day Until Tomorrow" dispenses some advice any grandmother from the old country would heartily endorse. "Enjoy what'chas got, not what you have not."

Biography

Formed: 1992 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Cana

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

The Real McKenzies do for Scottish folk music what the Pogues did for the traditional music of Ireland. They rev it up to a speed and power that approximate punk rock, but still maintain the melodic sense of the original sound, and sometimes use bagpipes and acoustic guitars to give it a taste of folkie authenticity, while the lyrics deal with the joys and tragedies of Scottish history, as well as the group's well-documented love of booze. The Real McKenzies were founded in Vancouver, British Columbia,...
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10,000 Shots, The Real McKenzies
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