Hailing from Dublin’s fair city, Gypsy Rebel Rabble seem to have burst from under the floorboards while happily clutching their newest album. This of course isn’t the case, and the album itself was launched at Whelan’s in January. I’ve also discovered that this is their 3rd album release, so I appear to have been living under a rock. As such I will also hands down admit I’d not heard of the band until I was asked to write this piece. I pride myself with staying on point with Irish releases and I guess they managed to wriggle out of my grasp, however fear not because I’ve now been well and truly immersed in their sound and what they have to offer.
Gypsy Over Rebel Under Rabble (try saying that 10 times) opens with Ash On The Coin, and the female vocalists Bronagh Keogh and Katie Lynn appear to have a style that’s also swirling around in the talents of fellow Irish group Wyvern Lingo. It’s an effortlessly crisp tone that echoes and aids the musical arrangement in building to create a toe-tapping little gem. Their harmonies are also on another level. As in – wow bonus level you’ve just completed Mario Kart – kind of scale. Even the male vocals have this air of raw quality that meshes so well and blends in perfectly with the track.
Future Kid has more of an upbeat tempo, with an acoustic guitar going ninety like a hyper-child after smarties. This calms down and is joined by those harmonies again that are just so on point. Ah, I love it. I Am Better Than That Man showcases lead male vocals accompanied by sweet acoustics. There’s a deep harsh-sounding vocal piece which caught me by surprise and seems a bit out of place in the song. Even with nicely added strings to the arrangement the track doesn’t grab my attention as much as I’d like it to.
Next up is Pick Out A Star, and for the first time the harmonies don’t seem to gel. There’s a solid instrumental background as support but even this seems disconnected to the lyrics. Just Love Me is teetering around the forgettable mark, however it’s filled with folk-pop tendencies the band are clearly comfortable with showcasing. Calm Upon This Hill is completely stripped back and brings listeners on a soft journey to harmony heaven. Definitely something to note down as a song you can completely chill out to.
Air violinists can then rejoice and play to their heart’s content during She’ll Be Alright, but swiftly following is Big Blue Whale which was unfortunately a let-down. This was a shame because it was all going so well. McGuffin really brings their rockabilly edge to the fore, and I could even see them in flowing dresses and double denims singing it around a camp-fire. Is that weird? Probably.
Now I’m not sure if this was intentional but on first listen of This Fire it almost seemed like a story. As if the fire is building and raging through the acoustic arrangement but then all is calm after this inferno has been distinguished. Indestractible Girl isn’t really doing it for me. It seems a bit repetitive to what I’d heard earlier in the album and I wasn’t too keen on the shaky vocals and hearing strained ‘oooh’s over and over. However Honey Bee rectifies my love for this album. It’s a beautiful arrangement that’s sprinkled with guitar riffs, soft piano chords and sweet violin melodies, all encapsulated in a rolling drum beat and vocals that I just can’t fault in any way.
Bringing up the end of the record is Where The Dogs Go To Pray, which yet again brings their harmonizing talents to the fore. It’s a slower track, and you can hear tinges of heartbreak coming across in the vocals, which really makes it a superb addition to the album. In fact it may have been better placed higher up in the track listings, but if you’re appreciating the album as a whole it’s a gorgeous track to finish on, especially with fading fireworks to see you on your way.
I really enjoyed taking the time to review this album. Definitely an eclectic mix for all music lovers to enjoy.