This Vancouver-native group fit into a genre whose members are few-and-far-between. The musical style of The Real McKenzies is a mix of punk, rock, and traditional Scottish elements. The guys of The Real McKenzies adorn kilts on stage and, of course, include bagpipes on the record, Westwinds. The first song of the current collection, “The Tempest” is as traditional and old-school as it gets. This record opener is the perfect pub anthem that becomes even more likable along with the number of beers you consume.
The band has been performing for about 20 years and has been around the world. Their live act is an in-your-face, fun type of performance. On Westwinds, this quality comes to life because it is made up of tracks filled with fun hooks and bagpipes. Lyrically, The Real McKenzies tell straight-forward stories of seafaring and other misadventures. “Hi Lily” is the one song where these unrelenting performers slow things down for a moment.
The tune is catchy and it is a welcomed, small break from all of that pub-punk noise. Immediately following is “My Head Is Filled With Music,” which has an intro that is absolutely ridiculous, but in the best possible way. This band has wild things going for them that most people in general will enjoy or at least get a kick out of. With 13 tracks in total, the album closes out with an intense pipe solo followed by a secret track that is actually comical. The Real McKenzies have a lot to say and they’re definitely not finished here.