Royal Oi! – Bootboys and Hooligans

v600_RoyalOi_Cover_RingMaster Review

Getting fed up of a punk roar is never a possibility, especially when it comes in the oi fuelled shape of the debut album from Scottish incitement Royal Oi!, a quartet creating street punk anthem after anthem. The release is a passion driven riot of sound and intent, uncaged by a band which, in their own words, just write and sing “songs about their passions and everyday struggles.” There is no agenda to their music, just the want to create a rebellious revelry for all to get personally engaged in; that an undoubted success found by their first full-length.

Hailing from Glasgow and drawing on inspirations from the likes of Bonecrusher, Perkele, and Cock Sparrer, the foursome of vocalist/guitarists Dave and Ana, bassist James, and drummer Jim first gave attention a healthy nudge with a four track demo in the December of 2014, its presence backing up a live presence already causing stir. Now it is Bootboys and Hooligans doing the contagious badgering and raucous persuading, a thick persuasion set to put Royal Oi! firmly on the punk map.

The album erupts with its title track, the opener a virulent stomp of punk riffs and spicy hooks driven by cantankerous rhythms. It is instantly a marker of things to come within Bootboys and Hooligans, an anthem setting the scene and the first great taster of the twin attack vocals from Dave and Ana. The former leads the track here with the pair alternating to some extent across the release, but always it is a dual incitement that hits the spot as resourcefully and potently as the grooves and hooks igniting ears.

Skinhead Warrior keeps the impressive start going, Ana’s snarling tones, backed by scything beats and grouchy riffs, alone an inciting call. Great backing shouts only add to the drama and catchiness of the track too, with the bass and its throaty bait another heftily compelling element before Docs and Tattoos takes over, sauntering in on a tasty groove spearing a charge of insatiable energy. Like a mix of 4 Past Midnight and Angelic Upstarts with a scent of dragSTER to it too, the song further whips up energies and an already awoken appetite with its punk ‘n’ roll devilry.

Both In My Heart, with its antagonistic passion and enterprise, and the fist in the air call of Punx and Skins ‘Football, Oi! and Rock n Roll’ keep body and emotions energised and greedily content; the first as a sing-a-long anthem no one could refuse. Its successor is more of a bruising confrontation but no less infectious as it draws the listener into full involvement of its rowdy adventure. The same can be said of all tracks within the album, Skinhead Loyalty swift proof with its inviting canter of sound and voice. Though the song is a less intensive proposal and without the extra spark of other songs around it, it still leaves ears, feet, and contentment enjoyably busy.

Musica Oi! enters ears on a great shadow lit predation, guitar and bass a prowling temptation leading to an eyeballing charge led by the thumping rhythms of Jim. Ana vocally growls and entices with typical prowess and energy as the track proceeds to twist and evolve through a varied landscape of imagination, intimidation, and enthralling enterprise. It is a mighty slab of punk matched in success by the old school bred Survive, a track rocking and rolling with prickly hooks and rapacious rhythms as vocals brawl with ears. It is another gem amongst only treats within Bootboys and Hooligans, a lingering protagonist keeping a firm hold on memory and provoking a hunger for more just like the outstanding Together. A chest beating call to arms, the song is glorious, a punk rock infestation stirring up the passions with an honest and open heart.

Bootboys and Hooligans ends on the raw onslaught of Violence, a challenging and tenacious roar on the state of the world today, and a highly pleasing and formidable way to end one thoroughly thrilling release. We cannot tell you how long Royal Oi! has been around but to our, and we suspect a great many others, their album is an introduction and wake up call to their rousing bellow. So for us there is a new and fresh oi incitement in town which excites and incites in impressive manner.

Bootboys and Hooligans is out now as a co-release between LastPunkRocker Records (150x Scottish Flag Blue), Crowd Control Media (150x White /w Blue Splatter), and Rebel Sound (150x Scottish Flag White) with an additional albums pressed in 50x Classic Black.

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Pete RingMaster 22/11/2015

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