REAL McKENZIES, THE: Off the Leash: CD

Nov 05, 2008

This and the new Shot Baker are my favorite albums from this batch of reviews. Basically great skate punk that happens to have bagpipes, and unlike a lot of other “traditionally” influenced punk bands, this band never sounds like it’s lost in mindless Pogues regurgitation. The songs manage to flit effortlessly from up-tempo pop punk to slower ballads, like the mostly acoustic “Guy on Stage.” This is the first proper album I’ve got from the McKenzies, so I can’t say how it stacks up to the older albums specifically, but I’ll venture it safe to say that this stands well on its own. I do remember when I saw these guys live about five years ago. That was a great time, especially Paul McKenzie’s insistence on singing “Surfer Joe” between songs, since the show was across from the beach in Malibu. I also got more than an eye full when McKenzie flicked up his kilt and told President Bush to kiss his dong. Seriously though, there’s not a bad song on this disc, as many of them slip right into that sweet spot of being both fun and introspective. Some of my favorites are “The Lads Who Fought & Won,” “Old Becomes New,” “My Mangy Hound,” and the almost pretty “Drink Some More.” Excellent stuff.

 –Adrian (Fat Wreck)