The Righs sound like a bar brawl between a local laborer and a sailor on leave. Part pirate crooners and Celtic punk rockers, the metro sextet' singer/guitarists Nate Williams and Jackson Smith, mandolin player Omid Nowrouzi, fiddle player Jian Azimi, bassist John Slawson and drummer David Johnson"? recently released "Roses," a follow-up to its 2008 debut, "The Rivers Run Deep."
Most of "Roses" pops with double-time punk tracks, the best of which is rounded out by album-opener "Double Edged Sword," a rally against apathy in a country filled with "little lives of luxury." "Stand up and fight / Let your voices be heard," Williams sings. "Show them your might / And raise your glasses high."
Appropriately swaying with gruff double vocals, "You're Drunk You Limey Bastard!" swaggers with a shuffling drum march, plucky mandolins and flying fiddles, while another ode to alcohol, "The Day Booze Saved Humanity," is a more straightforward, bass line-led rocker that breaks in the middle for a drum/mandolin/fiddle jig.
"The Valley (Billy's Song)" uses crying fiddles, strummed acoustic and slide guitars for subdued departure that's a little folk country. Here, the vocal cadence doesn't quite line up with the music's, but it's unclear if the misstep was in the studio or an issue of hasty arrangement.
The echoing "A Dog Named Job," which combines deep, whispering vocals, tremolo guitars and random bass drum-pedaling, is the most playful and experimental song on the disc, but the effort is canceled out by including a take on "When Johnny Comes Home Marching Home."
"Roses" isn't completely fresh-cut, but it's pretty fun. The Righs (rhymes with "twigs") are like a bar buddy: You don't want to hang on every word, but you can count on them to raise a glass or drop an elbow.
"Roses" is $12. For more information, visit www.therighs.com. "?Joe Wertz