posted 31 Mar 2017, 10:17 by Dean Miles

The Whipjacks

Scoundrels and Rogues EP
self-released; 2016

3.8 out of 5

By Dom Eagle

The Whipjacks is a five-piece alternative/indie band based in Worcester, UK, who have dubbed themselves as a “speed folk’”outfit. They draw inspiration from traditional Celtic and English folk roots, but they also have clear influences from The Dropkick Murphy’s, Flogging Molly and The Levellers. Of course, they’re still a band with a highly unique and original sound. 

This is a band hungry for the stage, and they deliver a foot stomping, non-nonsense show that is filled with raw energy and love for the music. 2017 is looking to be a big year for the band, as they continue to strive for further gigs, a larger following and even a second EP later on in the year.

Their four-track EP entitled Scoundrels and Rogues most certainly lives up to expectations. A frantic, chaotic round of drum filler blasts through my headphones and rapidly-strummed banjos (both acoustic and electric) burst into the soundscape. The punchy, fast-paced drumbeat, catchy chord progression and melodic vocals all combine to create a highly addictive sound. 

The Whipjacks certainly allow listeners not a moment’s rest. It’s hard to pin them down. They’re a rock band creating tracks with screeching, electrifying guitar solos and yet also the joyous tendencies and emotions of a folk band.

‘My Madness (Molly Murphy)’ opens with a throbbing drum beat, a meaty and low octave bass riff which channels The Whipjacks’ rock passion and a screeching electric guitar riff during the choruses which, musically, channels their folk tendencies. It’s a chaotic combination of rock and folk, but, in much the same way as The Dropkick Murphy’s,

The Whipjacks blend the two genres perfectly. It’s worth noting that the vocals are also very powerful, both in energy and emotion. Harmonizing, dark and intense vocals fill the calmer moments of the track, but this manic five-piece never let the listener recover for long. The insane drum beats, infectious bass hooks and distorted, fuzzy power chords always return for a furious finale.

‘Campfire Song’ is more of a traditional folk piece, though it’s driven by another frantic drum beat laden with filler. Acoustic guitar chords slowly strum in an upbeat chord progression as the vocalist sings joyously of inspiring tales fit for a campfire. The title certainly lives up to its promise. Furious banjo strumming and the occasional twinkle of clean, restrained electric guitar flutters in and out, but an unexpected, crunchy, distorted guitar riff bursts into the track towards the climax, creating a little diversity within the tune.

​All in all, I couldn’t believe how much sound was packed into these four short tracks. It’s an album which excites and inspires; the frantic, furious sound certainly won’t bore you.That’s undeniable. Listen for yourself, and you’ll see.