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Clash of the Tartans

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Album Review

Going back 23 years, Vancouver underground bands have always had a funnier sense of humor, and a penchant for making fun of themselves (while making really hot music) than any other scene. It's good to see the tradition, which goes back to the screw-off side-bands like Rude Norton and Sgt. Nick Penis Band, is extended via this amusing sextet (D.O.A.'s Joey Keithley's latest find for his Sudden Death label). The title of the Real McKenzies' second LP is apt: the group wears kilts and tam-o'-shanters on-stage (ladies, here's some leg action for you). Further, their records alternate between zippy, high-adrenaline, tight rock & roll punk such as "Stone of Kings," "Pagan Holiday," and "Celion" ("will ye ceilidh with me," ha ha), to a modernization of traditional Scottish folk as on "Mainland" — and a rough mid-point with gruff singing such as "King O' Glasgow" (pronounced "Glass-gee," of course!). Sure there's bagpipes and an accordion. What did you think? There's always room for a good band that doesn't take itself too seriously and has a good gimmick. Lots o' fun, for lads and lasses.


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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Clash of the Tartans, The Real McKenzies
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