If The Dubliners and the Dropkick Murphys had a love child, it would be Sir Reg. They are the next generation of mainstream Irish punk music, or at least they should be. Frontman Brendan Sheehy is a full-blooded Irishman whose dream was to start a band that he would be proud of. An amazing band that would make waves in the music world. So Brendan set off an adventure and found himself in Sweden, surrounded by an extremely talented group of people who formed this fantastic Celtic Punk band. Who were these folks? Well, Sir Reg is:
- Brendan Sheehy (vocals)
- Karin Ullvin – Fiddle
- Chris Inoue – Electric guitar
- Filip Burgman – Mandolin
- Mattias Soderlund – Bass
- Mattias Liss – Drums.
The Underdogs is this group’s 5th studio release since their inception in 2010. It’s truly a work of art. This album takes you on a rollercoaster of emotions. Starting out like any young man, full of piss and vinegar and rearing to go. The album starts out fast and grips you by the cuff of your shirt and drags you in in the best possible way.
The title track – “The Underdogs” – is a track with a quick tempo. It’s the kind of song that rallies your spirit and makes you want to get up and dance. Or at the very least get you to raise a pint and start your foot tapping along to the music.
Track two is even more upbeat with the song titled “Conor McGregor”. Yes, the UFC legend. This was the first track I listened to because the name caught my eye and I had to hear it before any other tracks. It’s a fabulous tribute through song for such a great Irish fighter. It captures the essence of McGregor’s personality and quite frankly puts me in the mood to go and watch a UFC fight featuring his man.
“Giving It Up (The Drink)” is another fast song , that sanguine sound that we all love about Celtic punk. Although, I’m not so sure I personally agree with the lyrics as no self-respecting Irish woman would be on board with giving up drinking (hahaha); but it is a well-written song, both lyrically and instrumentally.
“FOOL (Fight of our Lives)” is a track you’d almost expect to hear on a soundtrack during an action sequence setup of a film. If making comparisons between these folks and Dropkick Murphys, I’d say this is Sir Reg’s own “Shipping Up To Boston”. You know… that song that people will hear and immediately recognize as theirs.
The turning point is “Cairbre”, also it is quite possibly my favourite track on the album. It is an instrumental track with a 3:10 runtime, and while I typically don’t like my punk songs to run longer and 2:30-2:45 this one is different. It allows your musical mood to transition into a more pensive place.
“Take Me To The Dealer” moves into a more rock-ish style than punk, which is followed by “The Day That You Died”. To me, “The Day That You Died” has more of a folk feeling to it even though the cadence is a little quicker than most folk songs.
“The Stopover” and “Stereotypical Drunken Feckin’ Irish Song” give us a look into the more what I’d consider the traditional Irish songs that you’d hear playing in a pub or festival trying to capture the spirit of our blessed Éirinn.
The album closes out with a couple of slower tracks. “Don’t Let Go” and “Sinner Of The Century” are perfect songs to close out the album. Sort of how like as you get older you slow down. You go with the ebb and flow of life and just let it happen. The life cycle of this album is perfectly balanced and honestly makes you feel… complete. Like you’ve experienced everything that Brendan and the members of Sir Reg wanted to get across.
Overall, I think this album could very well be the best album of the year for me. If not the best, at the very least in the top 3.
I give this a solid 10/10.