Album Review: The Roughneck Riot – “This Is Our Day”
Celtic influenced punk rock has always been a genre I’ve tended to approach with caution over the years. I think maybe the main problem is that if you’ve heard the first three Pogues albums (the band who were arguably the movement’s forefathers), you’re going to have to be very very good indeed to get anywhere near the same level of quality. And believe you me, I’ve seen more than a few very poor imitators down the years (the spectacle of seeing a “Boston Oirish” band who shall remain nameless doing a bloody terrible ska-punk version of “Come On Eileen” at Leeds festival many years ago springs to mind).
I have to say though, with The Roughneck Riot we might just finally have a band capable of carrying Shane MacGowan’s legacy forward at long last. Maybe it’s just because of the general dearth of decent political punk bands in recent years when this septic isle of ours needs them more than ever (the recent “closet Tory” revelations about Frank Turner being the latest in a long line of disappointments on that front) but this second album from the Warrington firebrands sounds fresh, relevant and full of angry energy. “Are you happy with yourself and the life that you live?” they snarl on “Torn Away” in a manner that leaves you in no doubt that the answer is very much no. Make no mistake, this lot definitely do mean it (man) and songs like opener “Ignorance Is Easy”, the frenetic “What About Us?” and the ominous “Waiting To Die” barrel along with a righteous fury that’s as impressive as it is welcome. It doesn’t hurt that they’re quite a musically adept group with an ear for a decent riff and tune either (be honest, how many times have we come across very worthy punk rock bands sunk by a misplaced desire to play loud, fast and aggressive without considering that a decent chorus will do more to get people to listen than any amount of shouting and screaming?)
Angry, frustrated and keen to vent, this is the real sound of smalltown anger and political fury in the ongoing sh*tshow that is Cameron’s Britain. Give it a listen.