The New Breed

Port City Rebels

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If you believe that Halifax is the new London, then you might be tempted to think of the New Breed as the new Pogues -- though the fact is that their sound has more in common with current Celt-punkers like the Dropkick Murphys and Flogging Molly than the more backward-looking Shane MacGowan and his crew. Port City Rebels offers an appropriately whiskey-soaked take on folkie punk rock, complete with big, messy guitars, singalong choruses, a mandolin, and an instrumental nod to Robert Burns. That mandolin is featured most prominently on the bouncy kiss-off song "Kickin' and Screamin'" and on the band's relatively subdued take on the classic Scots tune "Green Grow the Rushes"; the Pogues influence is most strongly felt on the corrosive "Whiskey," and "Sons of Halifax" is an original song that revisits the ageless theme of young men losing themselves in the fleshpots of a decadent port city. Vocalist Jonny Stevens has little but commitment to recommend him, which is exactly as it should be for a band like this, and you kind of get the feeling that the band's looseness is a bit of an affectation -- they can probably play tighter, but feel like they shouldn't. If they stay together long enough they'll probably outgrow the need to downplay their own chops, and then they may get really interesting. In the meantime, they're lots of good, grungy fun.

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