Rum Lad – Punk AF / Wondermeat

  • Gary Hough posted
  • Reviews

Rum Lad

Punk AF / Wondermeat - Self Released

If you haven’t heard Rum Lad yet then strap yourself in, because you are certainly going to in 2022 as he goes out on the road to perform tracks from the brilliant debut album ‘Vandalism’ and the two follow-up’s ‘Punk AF’ and ‘Wonder Meat’. There are many bands and artistes in the current indie/punk scene who claim to be from a working class background and using this as the basis for their music, claiming they represent the man and woman on the street. Yet few of those ever seem genuine to me, and if they are they very quickly lose sight of it as their popularity grows. Rum Lad however makes ’Sleaford Mods’ sound like Coldplay, here’s an artist like few I’ve heard and his songs pull no punches, as they directly address subjects such as homelessness, benefit scroungers, difficult relationships, the gang culture that we see in our towns and cities and the Government. His views on the Tory party are as incendiary as anything John Lydon has ever said about politicians.  He’s calling the Tory toffs out as well as those who dare defend them.

A uniquely talented DIY artist who writes, records, releases and performs single handed, Rum Lad released the phenomenal album ‘Vandalism’ back in 2020 that absolutely blew me away when I heard it. Before we’d had a chance to finish playing side one of ‘Vandalism’ he was already working on his second and third (Yes, third) albums which he then released in 2021. The first of these is ‘Punk AF’ (AF stands for As Fuck) that was very generously titled after the Punk AF radio podcast of the same name. This is an album that not only builds on ‘Vandalism’, but surpasses it.

Lazy Sod is a poke at the keyboard warriors of this world who are quick to point out the injustice the older generations have laid at their feet but too damn lazy to get off their backsides to do anything to change it.

Mouthoid pulls no punches as it calls out those self-important narcissists who are there for you one minute when things are all going great but quick to run when called upon in your hour of need.

Wake Up England, here we have a real standout track for me in, it highlights the contempt the men in suits (Politicians) have for the people of this country and the apathy of those directly impacted by it.

Suffer, mental health is a subject you’ll hear Rum Lad sing about a lot and ‘Suffer’ is a track that makes you think, like those times when you go to your doctor for support and you sit waiting to go in, but before you do wonder if you are being spoon-fed ‘wellbeing’ in the numerous leaflets and posters that you see around the surgery. Posters and on the leaflets in those dispensers with buzzwords like they’re deliberately making you feel guilty for being there, yet they’ll claim it’s merely encouraging you to help yourself to better health. Questionable intent indeed.

The Difference Between is a track where the harsh reality of breaking up with someone is laid bare right here in this wonderful track. A very powerful song indeed and one you’ll instantly get if you’ve ever had to go through a breakup of this magnitude.

Retford is a very accurate portrayal of Rum Lad‘s wonderful, insular, bubble of a home town and one that many of those listening will relate to. Where the hardest man seems to be important and the term ‘who dya think you are?’ was invented.

Candy Cane addresses a social media obsessed world, one where we see some using it to bemoan or decry the least thing that upsets or offends them. This is the ‘woe is me’ digital cry for attention as they go after the easy targets, conveniently ignoring the more difficult issues of the day. “Feel the rain wash on your window pane, just like the tears you cried.  A solo genocide”. Rum Lad has you sussed.

Punched in the Throat is a humorous look at those who think they are entitled to state handouts. Those life excusing wankers who walk on waves of superiority but can’t possibly work. Those very same cheats that impact those facing real hardship.  No one is safe when Rum Lad has you in his sights.

Rake It In, politically, Rum Lad is very clear on the party he doesn’t like, the Tories. this track calls this Tory government out with its lies and cover ups, the austerity and benefit cuts, that put so much hardship on the poorest and most vulnerable people of this country. These are entitled Tories who deride people like Marcus Rashford as he tries to help those in need directly impacted by those very same privileged politicians.

Lost covers the mental health struggles that are very close to Rum Lad‘s heart and If ever there was an anthem for those suffering mental health problems then this is it. ‘Lost’ is an absolute monster of a song that deserves to be heard.

Tong means that you don’t need to ask Deirdre for advice on infidelity in relationships. Rum Lad has spelt it out for you, right here.

Clip Round the Ear is a rally cry against the system as the Eton educated Tory boys expect the working classes to just roll over, shut up and be quiet. They think they have a real insight into how things are in rough, deprived areas of our communities despite never having ever set foot there, looking in from their own Ivory Towers.

Wonder Meat is Rum Lad‘s third and my favourite to date. The album was initially given away free to those who bought and supported the release of ‘Vandalism’ and ‘Punk AF’. But just because it was given away, don’t for one minute think that this album wasn’t worthy of a full price release, because it is an absolute belter and it was very much deserving of that. Here we have a record and sound that has matured slightly and although instantly recognisable as a Rum Lad release it is slightly less frenetic than the previous albums, nonetheless it still retains that menace and clever, astute lyrics that we know and love with this man’s work.

I Am I is an interesting opening track as it calls out the music scene fakes who claim to be on the side of the man on the street yet their actions suggest otherwise. This track is a real poke at those bullshitters who like to ride on the back of the working-class banner yet are nothing of the kind.

Acidic has to be one of my favourite songs from Rum Lad as he tackles the problem of abusive relationships and those women who stay in them through fear or misplaced loyalty. This is one of the best songs ever written.

Gangsters is about the ill-mannered little bastards who run around our towns and cities with their south London accents despite never having left the fucking north. This song shines a very bright spotlight on those two-bob cocks of the north that go about intimidating people in their own communities, largely unchallenged through fear.

Money=likes=lies takes on X Factor & The Voice, those contestants look away now. Your instant fame and that lifelong dream that saw you become the next mediocre music darling of the mass market money men was not all that it was cracked up to be. There is no fairy-tale ending in this song for the likes of you.

Back The Fuck Off is a great song that you won’t see in the forthcoming live set but nonetheless it’s a fabulous track. ‘Back The Fuck Off’ is a backhanded take on those seedy politicians who visit prostitutes after hours and then treating them like the dirt on their shoe choosing to abuse them because they are sex workers … like they chose that life and to be selling their souls for the price of a house of commons canteen pudding.

Crows is where Rum Lad shows his empathy and concern for human beings, he tackles the issue of the homeless in this country and the lack of compassion from our own government when it comes to somehow rectifying the issues at hand.

Hate Tory Scum needs little, if any, explanation. If you grew up in the environments Rum Lad did then this will be self-explanatory. This could well be a party-political call to arms for the Labour Party. What say you, Angela Rayner?

Inside Out highlights the situation where a man that has given up after everything has gone wrong. A messy divorce and now living alone in a one-bedroom flat, missing the kids, yet out of control and pretending to not give a shit.

Councillor is exactly what it says in the title, dodgy fucking council board members lining their own back pockets at the expense of every working-class tax payer who rightly expected that their contribution would be used to do some good in the community, yet it isn’t. This is a song that calls those bastards in councils up and down the country, out.

Just Another Blag is a punch on the nose of Boris Johnson and his band of not so merry men and women, who thought they could hoodwink the country into thinking they had a robust plan for COVID all along. That those North of Westminster wouldn’t spot their failings due to being uneducated idiots in their eyes. Wipe the blood off your face Prime Minister, this track is definitely a heavyweight smack in the face for you and your ilk.

So, there you have it, two wonderful albums from a singer/songwriter that doesn’t mess about. Here is a singer who writes songs for working class people but you don’t have to be working class to get the message. Rum Lad writes from the heart and real-world experience and he will leave you in no doubt about that when you listen to what he has to say. If there’s one artist you won’t want to miss, it’s Rum Lad. Watch out for those tour dates coming shortly.

Punk AF and Wondermeat are both available as name your price downloads via Bandcamp