EP REVIEW: SOUTH SHORE RAMBLERS- ‘Bare Knuckle Blackout’ (2014)

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South Shore Ramblers-'Bare Knuckle Blackout' (2014)

It can’t be an easy thing being the only celtic-punk band on your continent but for South Africa’s South Shore Ramblers that’s the reality. Formed out of the ashes of the sadly now deceased The Sunday Punchers only last year I was well suprised to hear such a quality recording so short into their lifespan. Based in Johannesburg South Shore Ramblers inhabit the punkier side of the things but without losing their folk roots at all. Quite similar but not the same as The Sunday Punchers imagine a much more folk Dropkick Murphys perhaps. Very hard to pigeonhole maybe being the continents only celtic-punk band has given them that bit of individuality that sometimes is lacking a wee bit in the scene.

‘Bare Knuckle Blackout’ clocks in at a very nice twenty minutes and flows seamlessly with all six tracks showing the band at the very top of their game. It all begins with ‘Thirstday’ and from the very beginning you get a taste of what this band is about. Tales of hard lifes and hard lives, drinking to forget and drinking for the sake of it and the occasional happy time when all the bad times are forgotten. Banjo begins the song and it bursts into life before slowing down again with accordion and a bit of a ska beat with shouty but clear vocals. A wee classic to start with! Next up is title track ‘Bare Knuckle Blackout’ and a slow (for them anyaway!) track that carrys along with a much more hardcore punk sound. References to the Dropkicks cant help but come up due to the South Shore Ramblers shouty vocals and hardcor-ish sound but they stand on their own feet and ‘Own Wicked Device’ begins real folky and is possibly the most ‘traditional’ sounding celtic-punk song on the EP. ‘Hoodlums On Heat’ is a timely reminder that what was promised for South Africa’s future has not only not been delivered but that the ideals have been betrayed by the present ANC government who would traet any dissent with violence for instance turning their guns on striking miners killing scores…

“you speak of change but you choke on the truth
the hoodlums on heat are all fucking you
another toll paid – pockets filled
make a stand. question your government
set in motion that change
before it is too late”

The song is slowed down I suspect so the heartfelt lyrics can be easily understood. The South Shore Ramblers are angry and pissed off and quite rightly so.

“all the people suffer
the president builds another mansion
on tax payers money and stolen pensions”

‘Chugg’ returns the band to drinking and has a real catchy tune and fantastic banjo playing. Easily the best song on the EP its been spinning round my head all day at work and will do the same to you no doubt! ‘It’s Alright’ brings it all to an end with a great wee ditty with accordion to the fore with sad lyrics. In Shaun’s words

“We sadly lost some friends over the years very dear to some members… We wrote the song in spirit of them. Each verse is about them. One was to suicide in the second verse. The other was an unfortunate accident.”

The folk influences are not neccessarily all celtic as there is all sorts washing up together here. Catchy as hell and with a superb production ‘Bare Knuckle Blackout’ is one of those records which would make yer most hardcore punk happy as well as keeping yer traditional folky in clover too.

South Shore Ramblers

The EP is available to download for free but would be nice if you did leave them something. Its a fantastic EP and only the start of their journey I reckon. The band have got big plans and if things come off we may see them over on these shores soon so good luck to them for that. The South Shore Ramblers have achieved that rare thing…their own sound and believe me it’s a good one.

(to hear the entire EP click play below)

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One thought on “EP REVIEW: SOUTH SHORE RAMBLERS- ‘Bare Knuckle Blackout’ (2014)

  1. […] this year of the South Shore Ramblers debut record ‘Bare Knuckle Blackout’ click here. its also available for FREE you lucky […]

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