Independent Celtic punk outfit The Rumjacks released its latest record, Brass for Gold Friday. The band is scheduled to join its Celtic punk counterparts Dropkick Murphys on the road later this month as support for DKM as it promotes the eight-song record/ The EP has already produced three strong singles in the form of its opener, ‘Bounding Main,’ ‘Bloodsoaked in Chorus’ and ‘One For The Road.’ All three songs are memorable entries in the 24-minute presentation and are just a sample of what makes it so enjoyable. ‘Across The Water,’ one of the EP’s later entries, is interesting in its own right and will be discussed shortly. ‘Kicking Soles’ is just as notable as the EP’s singles, too. It will be discussed a little later. ‘Blinding Flashes,’ the record’s penultimate track, is also of note and will also be discussed later. Each track noted is important in its own way to the whole of the EP’s presentation. When they are considered alongside the EP’s current singles and with its two remaining songs, the whole makes the presentation in whole the year’s first great new EP.
The Rumjacks’ brand new EP, Brass for Gold is a strong new offering from the band. All three singles that it has already produced make that clear through their musical and lyrical content alike. They are not its only notable songs. ‘Across The Water’ is just as notable as those songs. The song’s musical arrangement is an upbeat composition, but is also decidedly contemplative in its approach. Needless to say the gritty vocals and the harmonies in the instrumentation make for an overall presentation that is purely punk. It is just part of what makes the song enjoyable. The lyrical theme that accompanies the song’s musical arrangement adds to that enjoyment.
The lyrical theme featured in this song comes across as centering on the all too familiar topic of a broken relationship. That is inferred as front man Mike Rivkees sings, “My darling dear/I think the hour’s drawing near/Your bag’s packed/And your heart begins to race/Should’ve seen it coming/From the time that you started running/My darling dear/What a hell of a year/You can never see the way/You looked at me that day/And you can never feel the things/You hold but push away/You won’t find yourself across the water/You won’t find yourself across the bay.” This is pretty clear in its message, which continues in similar fashion in the song’s second verse. To that end, there is little if any need to continue on from here about that item. Looking at this theme and the mood set through the song’s arrangement, the whole makes this song just as easy a single as the songs already presented as singles. To that end, it becomes clear why the song is its own notable addition to the album.
‘Kicking Soles’ is another notable addition to Brass for Gold immediately catches listeners through its musical arrangement. The use of the penny whistle and the guitars, drums, mandolin, accordion, and bass immediately lend this song to comparison to so many works from Dropkick Murphys. As a matter of fact, if a person heard this song and did not know it was from The Rumjacks, they would think it was from Dropkick Murphys. The similarities are that close. That is not necessarily a bad thing, either. It is just one part of what makes the song stand out, too. The song’s lyrical theme adds its own appeal to the presentation here, too.
The lyrical theme featured alongside the song’s musical arrangement seems to be a rumination on life and what we leave behind. This is inferred as Rivkee sings about the years happening to us like the river running dry, and that day that that last tear falls from the face. He even goes so far as to make mention of decaying and decomposing. That would leave the song’s title to be a reference to perhaps the road we walk in life. This is all just this critic’s interpretation. It is as if the song is encouraging listeners to make the most of their lives. If in fact that is the case, then it would make the semi-sombre tone in the arrangement make more sense. Keeping all of this in mind, the whole of the seeming lyrical theme and its companion musical arrangement makes the song in whole another notable addition to the EP.
‘Blinding Flashes,’ which is the EP’s penultimate entry, is one more notable addition to Brass for Gold. As with the other songs examined here, that is due in part to its featured musical arrangement. Where the other songs examined here exhibit the band’s familiar Celtic punk leanings, this song actually goes in a somewhat different direction, opting more for a semi-western sound and stylistic approach. The blend of that element with the band’s more punk approach makes this arrangement another notable addition to the record.
When the unique musical arrangement featured in this song is paired with the song’s lyrical theme, the song becomes even more interesting. The theme here is one of paying tribute to a military hero. That is inferred through the mention of Iwo Jima and the man laying face down in the ditch of a shed. In fact, if the lyrics are to be fully understood, the final words in this song note the name Ira Hayes, who was a Native American Marine and the last of the men who raised the flag at Iwo Jima. The additional mention that “he would say the lights are just a show” and how he was defamed would seem to hint even more in that direction. Keeping all of this in mind, that the band would honor the life and legacy of Hayes is original to say the very least. That, together with the song’s musical arrangement makes the song stand out even more. When the song in whole is considered along with the other songs examined here, the EP’s singles, and its two remaining songs, the whole makes the record overall a positive new offering from The Rumjacks that is well worth hearing.
The Rumjacks’ new EP, Brass for Gold, is a strong new offering from the band. That is thanks to its musical and lyrical content alike. The record’s singles have already made that clear. The songs examined here serve even more to make clearer. When all of that content is considered along with the record’s two remaining songs, the whole makes Brass for Gold the year’s first great new EP.
Brass for Gold is available now. More information on the record is available along with all of The Rumjacks’ latest news at: