Swedish-Irish rockers Sir Reg are back with a new album, due out on April 1st. Anyone who loved 2018’s The Underdogs won’t be disappointed, as Brendan & Co. stay true to their solid reputation. Here we get yer tastebuds wet (have a Guinness to tide you over).
Not every Celtic punk band can sing about supermarkets, COVID-19, iPhones and fake news and get it to work. But one band that can, almost effortlessly, is Sir Reg. The upcoming album, entitled Kings of Sweet Feck All, boasts the band’s slick Celtic punk sound but is relentlessly modern at the same time.
Surprisingly then, the opening track is about history. “The Kings of Sweet Feck All” takes us back to the British rule that pervaded all of Ireland for many centuries. And yet, it comes at it from an unusual perspective – compassion. The band explain in the YouTube video description (see below) that some soldiers really were “the kings of sweet fuck all”, because they didn’t want to be there in the first place, and they knew what they were doing was wrong. But as the song says, if they’d stepped out of line, they’d have been treated just like their victims.
After the opening track, the album takes a giant leap into the present day with “Goodbye To All Your Freedom”. With references to the coronavirus and pandemic, it’s pretty clear what loss of freedom Brendan Sheehy’s singing about here. He’s also encouraging the listener to sift through the fake news and make up their own mind. During a health crisis that’s shaken society right up, the amount of misinformation being banded about as truth was disappointing to see. Fortunately then, it’s not all doom and gloom as the choruses to this song give the listener a lift.
Another reaction – albeit more fun – to the pandemic is track #3 “Open The Pubs”. This was the first song from the new album to be revealed. It starts off slowly, before jumping into a rhythm that reminds me of The Real McKenzies’ “Bugger Off”…which is ironic, because “Open The Pubs” is trying to get people in the pub rather than out 😁 But how many Celtic folk/punk singers can sing about Netflix and get away with it? Well frontman Brendan, armed with his unmistakable voice, can. The band made a video for this one too, with a humorous quality to it, so check it out below if ye don’t know it yet.
Let down (and hangin’ around)
The band’s humour continues to show with the strangely titled “Tosspot City”. Another thrasher in A minor, the interplay between the drums and instruments is well done here, especially in the choruses. This lends the song a rhythm and beat that reminded me of another Reg favourite, 2018’s “Giving It Up (The Drink)”. Things then quieten down a wee bit for “Thank You For Your Lies”, led by the tin whistle and Karin Ullvin’s fiddle. The line We’re killin’ time and sippin’ wine, and prayin’ for this nightmare to go away seems to be about COVID again. But the song also laments the fact that various people – from online influencers to certain government figures – have let the people down during the pandemic.
This theme of “abusing the people” continues on heavier track #6 “This Coming Regime”, and this is a song that stands out. With an interesting use of samples, and another uplift that shifts the chorus up a few semitones, this was one of my favourite listens from the album. It’s definitely one of the more experimental, interesting tracks on the new record.
If the album hasn’t had enough o’ the drinking songs for your taste yet, then wait no longer: “Sober Up To Drink” is next 🍺 The Celtic instruments make a welcome return here, with the tin, fiddle and mandolin combining to form a strong team. Add to that a dose of the usual humour, with lines like Singin’ a song to a big crowded room, and I don’t think I know all the words / I fall off the stage and I piss me own jocks. A nightmare for any live musician 😂
Next, we come to the other song for which a video was made on YouTube, namely “Kick Out The Scum”. This one boasts another quality Sir Reg riff, one that reminds me of “FOOL (Fight Of Our Lives)”, one of my personal favourites by the band. Filip Burgman and Karin team up again on the mandolin and fiddle, and the band invites the listener/crowd to join in on a singalong chorus. Check out the video below, which boasts too much energy for society to handle 😁
Looking out for the little man
We round the album off with a few tracks more sombre in nature. “The Stinking Mattress” discusses supermarkets and homelessness, and a man who loses his job and his life to end up out on the streets. Keeping it relentlessly modern? Yep. On the penultimate track, the band aren’t telling people to give up the drink, but to “Give Up The Drugs”. And unlike “Giving It Up (The Drink)”, this song is deadly serious, with a clear message: find the help you need. Stay away from the people who deal and supply / They don’t give a rat’s ass if you live or die. Brutal and true.
One last ballad rounds the album off, in “The Story’s Been Told”. Sheehy’s lyrics about working-class life take us back to the roots of Celtic punk – and to Dublin in the ’80s as well. Modern technology gets another swipe (no pun intended!) here on the line We didn’t have iPhones, we played in the fields, and the title “The Story’s Been Told” seems to be lamenting how formulaic life can be these days, especially on social media. People nowadays have a lot compared to what they had in the past, and there are advantages to that. But as Geezer Butler from Black Sabbath once put it, “everybody knew each other in the street [when I was young] and everybody used to help each other out.” You don’t always get that nowadays, and life isn’t much better for it. So always acknowledge the little man, and keep looking out for him.
11 pieces o’ gold
With explosive riffs, clever lyrics and plenty of the usual underdog spirit, Sir Reg emerge from the pandemic with a vengeance. Watch out for Kings of Sweet Feck All when it drops on April 1st, via Despotz Records. We’re sure you’ll enjoy these 11 pieces o’ gold. To get it, head to the band’s official webpage HERE. Or you can drop ’em a message on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter if ye have any questions or just want to chat to the band.
If money’s a bit tight at the moment (thanks, energy prices), then the album will also be available on the band’s Spotify, where they’ve built themselves an impressive following since their 2009 inception.
Sláinte! 🍻 Or as they say in Sweden, släng dig i väggen 😉