“The Great Unwashed” from one of Reading’s few ska punk bands left is a short but sweet release, barely reaching 25 minutes and only one out of 13 tracks reaches three minutes in length. Having grown as a band after the release of their first few EP’s , Rail-27 certainly haven’t matured based on some of the lyrical content but have certainly gone beyond an amateur sound to create this album full of charm and encapsulating their range of influences which is certainly a lot wider than you might first expect.
It’s great that a band will still release an album with a big Operation Ivy influence, but aside from the whole ska punk vibe of the album, the band bring in more heavier punk influences to unleash some aggressive sounds in amongst all the upstrokes. This is certainly a band who haven’t been afraid to experiment on their albums, with tracks such as the Beastie Boys inspired ‘Don’t Tell Me How To Smell’, the more personal and acoustic ‘The Descendents Told Me It’s OK to be Emotional’ to the opposite side of the influences, such as the few dub tracks that are blended in towards end of the album.
For a band comprised of just guitar, bass, drums and the occasional dab of melodica, and with the majority of recording done with home equipment the album is surprisingly versatile. The album sounds good for a home recording but is rough around the edges enough to have that added charm to it. While the band shout ‘Fuck You’ in your ears during the track ‘With Love’, you can’t help but appreciate this young band’s appreciation of not taking themselves too seriously but not to the point of some of the more cringe-worthy ‘punk’ bands out there, the album mixes politics and humour without comprising the flow that all good albums need. The album is an impressive mix for a band with just three members, although they do bring in the help of Ron Allsop from Ill Gotten Gains on highlight track ‘Skab’, where Ron brings in his raw vocals for what is arguably the most fast and aggressive song on the album.
With bundles of enthusiasm and hard work, Rail-27 are helping to keep a somewhat dying genre both fun and alive. The album is serious enough in places to not write it off as cheesy, crusty enough in places to please most the die-hard punk fans, and has an overlay of the Operation Ivy style of ska-punk that we all grew up loving, and it’s good to know that this is no different for new generations of bands.
Check the album out over on Bandcamp