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Rats in the Burlap

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Album Review

On their ninth studio album, Scottish (by way of Canada) folk-punks the Real McKenzies offer up a strong dose of rock & roll with a potent chaser of Highland pride on Rats in the Burlap. Lead singer Paul McKenzie and his latest lineup of the band rolled into Motor Studios in San Francisco with "Fat Mike" Burkett of NOFX in the fall of 2014, and the Real McKenzies emerged in the spring of 2015 with another set of the band's trademark mix of yell-along punk, strong but heartfelt ballads, and prankish numbers like "Bootsy the Haggis-Eating Cat." The Real McKenzies have a well-earned reputation as one of the hardest-working and most raucous bands in Celtic punk, and Rats in the Burlap shows that after more than 20 years, they're still playing at the top of their game and eager to deliver for their fans.


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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Rats in the Burlap, The Real McKenzies
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