The Real McKenzies have been serenading beer halls and living rooms alike with their distinguishable Celtic punk jams for nearly 30 years now. Beer and Loathing,the band’s eleventh studio release,is par for the course, perfect for anyone in the mood to knock back a couple whiskies and wail along.
The album feels like the soundtrack to a party taking place at the end of the world. Founder and lead vocalist, Paul Mckenzie, orchestrates the whole thing with his raspy yet powerful vocals and enthralling storytelling. On “Big Foot Steps” he’s his usual political self, placing the band at home in Vancouver and singing, “I rode the pipeline from Bella Coola to the Georgia Straight, I hoisted my protest sign and stopped cars on the Lion’s Gate.” His sense of humour is also alive and well on songs like “Cock up Your Beaver”—no comment—and “Overtoun Bridge,” which tells the story of an actual Scottish bridge known in folklore to be the place where dogs would commit suicide: “Rover went over, over the Overtoun Bridge.” Beer and Loathing sways its way through folky ballads, bag-pipe backed marching tunes, and then blasts into razor sharp punk jams, like “36 Barrels,” which rivals Bad Religion in their heyday. There’s plenty of life left in the McKenzies and although music venues may be temporarily closed, the band seems prepared to stay hydrated through the storm until they can reclaim the stage and share these new songs in a live setting with their beer-swilling fans. Best Track: “Beer and Loathing”