Ten albums into it, at this point as a listener you know what you’re getting into with a Real McKenzies’ album. Like always, there are plenty of bagpipes, power chords, Paul McKenzie’s blissful Scotch-soaked vocals, and singalong choruses for days. And if you’re a fan, that all sounds like heaven.
The band has gone through a sea of change in lineups over the past 20 years with McKenzie being the only original member. Most of the current band, aside from bassist Troy Zak, have only been around for a record or two, but the music sounds just as strong here as when these Canadians first crossed the border. Aside from the music being a little less sloppy, lyrically the band has grown immensely since those first few efforts. Yes, they still have a wicked sense of humor (“Fuck The Real McKenzies” is a perfect example), but they build off 2012’s ‘Westwinds’ and 2015’s ‘Rats in the Burlap’ and turn in some great, arena-worthy anthems like “Due West” and the blistering “Sail Again.” They also do a nice reworking of one of their earlier songs on the album closer, “Scots Wha Ha’e.”
If you’ve been waiting patiently for the past year and a half to once again hear the Scottish bagpipes wail, you’re in luck. If not, well “get tae fuck!”