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Into the mouth of the wolf
You’re never gonna take me down
There’s still a beating heart beneath the ground…
Hestia, the fifth and most recent studio album from The Rumjacks, marks a new era for the band.
The album introduces new lead singer Mike Rivkees, whose songwriting skills have rejuvenated The Rumjacks’ collaborative spirit. Together, Rivkees (vocals), Johnny McKelvey (bass), Gabe Whitbourne (guitar), Adam Kenny (bouzouki/mandolin), and Pietro Della Sala (drums) combine their diverse American, Australian, Italian, and Irish perspectives to create a fresh, globalized iteration of the Celtic punk legacy dating back to the Pogues.
Hestia takes the energy of traditional folk music, lights it on fire, then sprinkles it with ash. Dark, gritty, and historically aware, this is music grounded in the character of the Rebel.
When writing Hestia (named after the Greek goddess of home and hearth), bandmembers Mike Rivkees and Johnny McKelvey paired their affection for their Irish immigrant grandparents and parents with the punk, ska, and hard rock sounds pulsing through their veins.
For McKelvey, punk and folk music are not all that different: they share “incredible energy, melodies, and story-telling.” Indeed, Hestia’s loud choruses and infectious melodies pull you in, but its lyrical narratives of sorrow and aspiration, of history and struggle, are what keep you listening.
Although their songs are composed in divergent places, from the shores of Rhode Island down to Australia and across mainland Europe, The Rumjacks final sound is seamless and cohesive, boasting a perfect balance of folk influence and modern punk.
The band’s collective enthusiasm can be heard on each track in Hestia, from the pugnacious war-like march, “Bullhead,” to the lyrical requiem, “Rhythm of her Name.” While, on the one hand, Hestia carries the expected Rumjack vibrancy, its songs also demonstrate a surprising variety of styles and emotional range without sacrificing the band’s principle descriptor: hardcore.
For twelve years, The Rumjacks have written songs that you cannot help but start singing by the second chorus, even if you have never heard them before. In this short career, they have released four acclaimed studio albums and two live albums that capture their most renowned asset: their electric energy onstage. That organic energy has garnered them a far-reaching fanbase. The band’s breakthrough hit, “Irish Pub Song” (2011), a tongue-and-cheek jaunt about all the Irish pubs in the world, has over sixty-five million views. Their other music videos have acquired a substantial following as well, with almost 200,000 subscribers on YouTube and over 100,000 subscribers on Spotify.
The band now counts hundreds of thousands of fans in North America, Europe, Asia, and their home in Australia.
With a new album and a new sound to showcase, The Rumjacks look forward to getting back to live performances. Hestia is an album that, in the words of Johnny McKelvey, will only find its outlet onstage.
During uncertain times, The Rumjacks have kindled their creative flame and given fans an album whose energy and passion is guaranteed.