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Published on March 27th, 2012 | by Denise Borders

The Real McKenzies “Westwinds” Review

The Real McKenzies

photo from

Paul McKenzie
Gord Taylor
Kurt Robertson
Sean Sellers
Mark Boland

review by Denise Borders

Celtic punk rockers, The Real McKenzies, are dropping their tenth studio album TODAY via Fat Wreck Chords. I’m not big on this whole Irish boom we’ve been hit with thanks to bands like Flogging Molly, Dropkick Murphys, blah blah.  I don’t mind those bands, I’ll go see them live or something but I don’t own ONE record. With that said…. onward with the review!

Track List
01 – The Tempest
02 – Fool’s Road
03 – I Do What I Want
04 – The Message
05 – My Luck Is So Bad
06 – The Massacre of Glencoe
07 – The Bluenose
08 – Burnout
09 – Halloween
10 – Hi Lily
11 – My Head Is Filled With Music
12 – Barrett’s Privateers
13 – Pipe Solo – Francis Fraser

Nope, you’re not at a funeral in Sons of Anarchy, this album begins as any good Irish tune should…. bagpipes.  After just a few seconds of The Tempest, almost cappella vocals come in. Interesting! Not just an interesting track, but I think it’s intriguing that they chose this for the intro track. Then about two minutes in, it finally breaks into a full song.  Ah… I see.  Okay, now it sounds like the intro of an album! Carry on!

Fool’s Road starts off similar, but the pipes last a mere seconds and then they’re washed away by regular punk people music! Oh, they’re still in there, don’t worry. This is an Irish band after all. Okay wait, I just looked it up and it’s not Irish, it’s Scottish. I feel like they’d get pissed that I fucked it it up but I don’t want to rewrite all this shit so they’ll have to deal with it or whatever. I don’t like this track that much so I’m moving along.

The third track, I Do What I Want, reminds me a little of Nick 13 at the start (if you aren’t familiar, it’s the singer of Tiger Army’s solo project). Has a softer start to it, almost rockabilly-ish.  The vocals are a bit different, but still has that same Scottish vibe with the bagpipes or whatever… I’m just assuming… could be another horn related instrument. Am I making myself sound like a dumbass? Either way, I like the lyrics of this song because it’s sort of how I am, as cheesy as that sounds.  He’s singing about doing what he wants because he’s getting old and this is how he wants his life. YEAH, SISTER!

The Message reminds me of an old Cure song or something at first, not that I ever listened to the Cure or anything…. but it’s just what came to mind.  I like that so far, this album has been able to mix it up track to track while still staying true to the band’s original sound.  Honestly, I never listened to The Real McKenzies before this so I haven’t the foggiest as to what they usually sound like.  From what I’ve heard about them, I gathered they were your average Celtic band, and from this album I can see my assumptions were right.  They aren’t blowing me away, but I really don’t hate it! They sound like a classic band that would still draw a good crowd of real motherfuckers. I can respect that.

By the fifth track, I’m realizing this album is really long.  I’ve been so used to reviewing mostly punk albums that stick to tracks two minutes or less, and this record has over 44 minutes of songs. When I’m typing it/ saying it in my head that doesn’t sound that long, but for some reason it seems longer than albums I’ve really dove into recently. Anyway, My Luck is So Bad isn’t my favorite track.  This is like a “I’m drunk, let’s grab onto each other and singalong to the jukebox and spill our beer on each other” kind of track.  I do enjoy the lyrics for sure, I think it’s a song that most everyone can relate to.

I’m going to skip to The Bluenose, which is a violent Scottish jam! It’s sang with force and I can imagine really gets a crowd going during a live show.  This song sounds way more Scottish than the others.  I’m not big on a whole bagpipes thing, but hey, these guys seem to do it well so, PIPE ON MY FRIENDS.

Lily is the next track that really made me stop and listen again, even though I’ve rarely had a good experience in my life with anyone named Lily. It’s a slower, more ballad like song, and shows a more mellow side of the band. I hate to sound like I’m dissing this band, because I don’t want to. FOR REAL, DOE. I just can’t get into the whole Irish/Celtic/Scottish band thing.  As I mentioned, I can watch them live and have a good time, but I just can’t put the album on and jam to it, I JUST FREAKIN CAN’T.  Don’t judge me. I listen to homeless people like Leftover Crack.

Anyway, there are four more tracks to finish off the album, and I can’t say it’ll be on repeat, but I can say that I’ll be catching these dudes live if they come my way.  I really hope I see Paul’s butt.

The album drops today on Fat Wreck Chords so for fans of Flogging Molly and that slew of bands, pick this shit up! MAD FOR PLAID.

Fat Wreck

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About the Author

Denise Borders

33, Los Angeles. Denise founded PWV in 2008 and remains the primary manager and photographer/videographer. She thinks the world would be a better place if there were more John Joseph's walking around.

3 Responses to The Real McKenzies “Westwinds” Review

  1. eve says:

    I don’t mean to sound defensive or angry or anything but I’m just really curious why you’d even decide to review this album if you don’t really like celtic punk and bagpipes and can’t tell the difference between Scottish and Irish? Seems like a waste of time.

  2. Admin Admin says:

    because Fat is a priority label when they send me albums to review. maybe it’s nice to read something from a different angle to some people? idk. sorry?

  3. Ben says:

    Yes, not to bitch but if you don’t know much about celtic punk and have NEVER heard the Real McKenzies before reviewing this (and have not bothered to do a minimum of homework on them before doing so) I don’t think you have any business around this record. I guess you did a good job though, given your level of interest and savvy.

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