Lagerstein - 25/7 - (8.5/10)
Published on August 10, 2019
Ahoy! Everyone’s favourite flying-pirate-themed Australian folk metal septet (whatcha mean? There’s loads of ’em!) are back – so protect your rum, or they might just bury it! Despite minorly tumultuous line-up altercations, the Aussie pirates of Lagerstein have remained pretty damn consistent; both in terms of their musical quality and sheer fun factor. Their albums utterly ooze playfulness, warmth and good humour so stay away unless you’re a metalhead who isn’t afraid to grin a little. 2016’s All For Rum & Rum For All was a superb sophomore effort which elevated the band’s sound from the rough-yet-charming Drink ‘Til We Die – injecting a healthy dose of ‘epic’ thanks to the quality keyboard use. So, does the wonderfully-titled 25/7 continue this upward trend of grandiosity? Frankly, no it doesn’t. Is this a disappointment? Initially, yes. But I soon got over myself and started enjoying 25/7 for what it’s meant to be: a collection of mega-fun shanties for the alcohol-obsessed.
The last track we heard from Lagerstein until now was “The Fountain Of Rum” – a truly grand voyage of expansive songwriting. After such a quest, the 2-4 minute jigs of this record feel a little underwhelming. Overall, whilst the production is generally solid, that bombastic semi-orchestral sound has been diluted somewhat. It’s still there, peeking out through the main riff of “Midnight Moonshine”, the martial “Off The Map” or the majority of “The Wild West”, but I initially found myself yearning for a much more cinematic timbre. Once I pulled my head out of my ass, learned some of the lyrics, and generally loosened up with the help of some whiskey, man did this became a riotous barrel o’ fun! On my first listen, the disappointing first half of the album was redeemed by all the crazy shit that happens in the second half.
I cracked my first real grin on the utterly splendid carribean-style ballad “Pina Colada Paradise”. Pseudo-reggae rhythms, steel drums and a general chillaxed-as-fuck atmosphere; not to mention the greatest rhyming couplet in the history of rhyming couplets:
“The sun comes and goes as it pleases,
And coconuts fall from the treeses.”
Poetry. Following this piece of non-metal magic, we get a barroom rock ‘n’ roll singalong (“Wench My Thirst”) with an absolutely bad-fucking-ass saxophone solo. We get a shanty about a very special avian dude (“Party Parrot”) with a mosh section where the audience are instructed to FLAP! We get a fun-as-shit sea shanty about polishing off different bottles of alcohol and gaining an extra hour of daylight as a result (“25 Hours”). Most importantly, there’s the magnificent march of “Off The Map” with its martial rhythms, epic chorus and truly chunky main riff. For sure my number 1 cut on the disc. Upon repeat listens, the former half of 25/7 starts to open up in my mind and the whole output becomes strangely addictive. The single “Dig, Bury, Drink!” fuses the classic accordion oom-pah with mid-paced powerchords and a fiddle melody to fist-pumping effect, making this a great choice of taster for fans – even if the idea of burying rum is questionable! Then again, I’d never heard of drinking from a shoe until Lagerstein came into my life, so maybe they just do things differently down under.
Speaking of “Down Under”, the Lagerstein crew finally summoned up the balls to cover the Men At Work classic (I think it’s a legal obligation if you’re an Australian band). They do it very admirably, but I just wish it wasn’t preceded by “A New Day”. I love ambient interludes, but to have 5 full minutes of literally nothing happening was taking the piss. That said, they should definitely keep all the spoken word sections between tracks – they add character, are frequently charismatic and occasionally laugh-out-loud funny. My advice is to give the album a second listen if you’re initially disappointed, the sheer gaiety of these Australian pirates will totally shine through and permeate any sour mood. With the help of a little rum, of course. Many thanks to Rummyrackers, Gregarrr, Mother Junkst et al, you’ve made a bitter man smile this year.