EP REVIEW: SOUTH SHORE RAMBLERS- ‘Open Room Sessions’ (2015)


The South Shore Ramblers blend traditional forms of folk music with rock and punk, with lyrics about hard times, friendships, mistakes we make, tragedy, love and loss, as well as trying to survive in South Africa in this current day and age.

South Shore Ramblers- Openroom Sessions

The follow up EP to last years Bare Knuckle Blackout hits the streets running and again its a blooming brilliant slice of full on celtic-punk rock. South Africa’s South Shore Ramblers have again come up with a quality record that demands being heard well outside Africa. We’ve said before how lonely it must be being the only celtic-punk band in their entire continent but their are well established Irish and Scots communities and these days that doesn’t seem to matter anyway as the appeal of celtic-punk spreads.

(great live vid featuring ‘Own Wicked Device’ and ‘A Novel Fate’)

Based in Johannesburg, South Shore Ramblers inhabit the punkier side of the celtic-punk world but without losing their folk roots at all, their early beginnings were in The Sunday Punchers, who released a whole host of excellent records, before they split and The South Shore Ramblers were born last year. Their debut EP landed them at a very healthy fifth in the London Celtic Punks EP Of The Year poll (here) and if they can keep up the momentum of this EP then they will be troubling the top of the chart come next year too!

South Shore Ramblers

‘Open Room Sessions’ was recorded at Open Room Studios in Johannesburg, live and mixed a long the way by Darryl Torr. While Bare Knuckle Blackout was as smooth and as perfect as you could get this EP is a lot more rough and ready, but in a good way, and shows the band as close to a live gig as would be possible. They have captured that live sound exactly and from this I am now gagging to catch them one day live. Only three songs and just over ten minutes but the quality of their songs is what rises this about the crowd. Kicking off with ‘Own Wicked Device’ possibly their best song to date and all the elements that make celtic-punk so great are there.  A folky start before Martin’s great vocals come in. Just this side of shouty/raspy without being over the top they fit the music perfect and the band play with a wild abandon that few can match.

‘A Novel Fate’ follows and is the only new track on the EP and keeps up the good work. What sounds like dual vocals works really well and excellently played accordion leads the track along nicely. Plays like two different songs with the two vocal styles. Not quite as punky but still great. The EP ends with ‘Bare Knuckle Blackout’ and a slowish track that perhaps has a Dropkick Murphys sound to it. Again the accordion leads with the mandolin keeping well up.

(left to right) Martin Bezuidenhout - Vocals, Kenneth Dennis - Accordion, Shaun Hillary - Mandolin & Banjos, Pete Kellerman - Bass, Les Bainbridge - Acoustic Guitar, Sean Barron - Electric Guitar, Darryn Small - Drums

(left to right) Martin Bezuidenhout – Vocals, Kenneth Dennis – Accordion, Shaun Hillary – Mandolin & Banjos, Pete Kellerman – Bass, Les Bainbridge – Acoustic Guitar, Sean Barron – Electric Guitar, Darryn Small – Drums

All in a fantastic EP and all the better for not being so polished. Three superb tracks of as good a celtic-punk you will find anywhere and available to you lucky bleeders for nothing (or a couple of quid if you’re feeling generous…no pressure sales here) from the link at the bottom of the page. As I say only the lucky few will have a chance to get to see The South Shore Ramblers in the flesh (the bhoys are looking at getting over to Europe at some point and we are REALLY hoping they manage it) so this EP captures that sound exactly. I defy anyone to not to love this band so get downloading and feast your lugholes on the best celtic-punk band in Africa!

(you can listen to the whole EP by pressing play on the Bandcamp box below)

Contact The Band

Facebook  Soundcloud  Bandcamp  YouTube

Download The EP

FromTheBand (available for free or pay however much you want!)

to read our review from earlier this year of the South Shore Ramblers debut record ‘Bare Knuckle Blackout’ click here. its also available for FREE you lucky people!

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