Sir Reg – 21st Century Loser

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Review by Phil Wilson

Heptown Records

When given access to Celtic/folk punk group Sir Reg’s third album offering, 21st Century Loser, I was guilty of perpetrating the usual stereotype. I expected a weaker Flogging Molly, maybe even a quieter Dropkick Murphys, or a coherent Pogues (one day…). Naturally, I was wrong. Sir Reg aren’t a pale impersonation of somebody else, but they’ve definitely done their homework.

The record unspools with ‘Emigrate’, instantly laying down a staple Celtic punk base to build up from. The lone strings, the frenzied speed, the deceptive gentleness of the banjo, it’s all here; and it all evaporates with the furore of the full band’s momentous sound. Strong introduction leads to strong follow up, as the album segues into ‘Raise Your Hand’; the sound toned down to something much more at home with the genre’s style. It’s little effort to begin the cross-band comparisons here, but equally as unfair. As early into the record as this, it’s clear Sir Reg won’t be content with the archetypal genre restrictions. The track is rife with vitriolic, disillusioned lyricism. Combined with the thunderous rhythm and the clear, honest heart behind each syllable: the band are brilliantly suited for live audiences: “Here we go again, it’s election time/ Promises are flying high/ There’s a pot of gold, at the rainbow’s end/ If you give your vote to lies”. A surprisingly candid, part acoustic fight-the-power anthem (every good record needs one) evolves from the former sound in the shape of ‘At The End Of The World’. Another lesson in exposed, genuine lyrical work, this time denouncing the pressure-grip the press can hold over the average man.

There’s only so far you can deviate from a path as well trodden as the one Sir Reg find themselves on, though. The group are victims of circumstance; their music is talented, authentic and feverishly catchy, but they find themselves overshadowed by bigger titles. The record’s admirable effort to cover a number of styles, opinions and techniques in one short flash sets them far apart from their ilk, and is deserving of much wider recognition. ‘Live For Today’, towards the record’s sunset, makes conscious efforts to sidestep its own theme. Sprinkled with impressive bass solos which expertly break up the style, it provides enough diversity to carry the album to its finale.

Impressive pacing slows the momentum down for the closing tracks of 21st Century Loser, with an openly emotional ‘City of Tragedy’: “Did my best to escape it all/ But problems, they follow you/ Many years later, you’re happy/ Something small like opening a letter/ Can bring it all back in a flash”. The album finishes as the antithesis of its introduction track. A gentle, short and lulling ‘21st Century Loser Pt II’ bookends an educational record; worthy of its place among its celtic punk contemporaries, Sir Reg’s latest album is hopefully a premonition of work to come.

Sir Reg - 21st Century Loser8 out of 10

Track Listing:

  1. Emigrate
  2. Raise Your Hand
  3. ‘Til The Dead Come Alive
  4. At The End Of The World
  5. Walking Into Doors
  6. Banquet For Dreamers
  7. 21st Century Loser
  8. Live For Today
  9. City Of Tragedy
  10. All That Remains
  11. We’ll Rise Again
  12. 21st Century Loser Pt II