Six months ago, I asked Twitter to recommend me some new music. People suggested the usual suspects, acts like Ed Sheeran and The Vaccines were put forward but I was looking for something more original. So when one tweeter suggested I listen to The Original Rudeboys I didn’t give it a second thought. Fast forward to the present and the inner-city Dublin trio will tomorrow release their debut album, This Life. The Original Rudeboys, for those who haven’t heard of them yet, are Seán ‘Neddy’ Arkins (vocals), Seán Walsh (ukulele) and Rob Burch (guitar, vocals) and they play what can only be described as an eclectic mix of acoustic guitar and hip-hop.
This Life is the final ascent in the rollercoaster life that The Original Rudeboys have endured over the past year. Debut single, Stars in My Eyes propelled them to fame in 2011, with follow-up single, Travelling Man, also being treated to some heavy radio airplay, so it’s not surprising to see these two tracks open the album on a positive note. Sunny Days is as summery as its name suggests, but also sees Arkins and co display their more serious side. The song is written about their friend, Keith Monaghan, who took his own life in 2009 and is the first of a number of songs on the album which talk about serious matters such as bullying and abusive relationships. It is for this reason, in my opinion, that The Original Rudeboys have built up such a huge following in such a short space of time. Their songs strike a chord with a lot of young people, who have taken inspiration from the lyrics. A quick glance over the comments section of their Youtube videos will support this.
The standout track on This Life is Blue Eyes. Arkins shows off his ever-improving rapping skills to full effect in this number. He is backed by a consistent drum beat which helps the song flow. Burch’s vocals are reminiscent of Jason Mraz or Jack Johnson in their prime and it is the contrast between the accents of the two vocalists which make The Original Rudeboys be exactly what they claim to be, original. Despite the numerous positives, this isn’t an album without its flaws. It’s a good album, not a great one. Lyrics are inspirational, the melodies not so much. Potential is the word of the day and with a year of consistent gigging ahead, including a support slot for Snoop Dogg and Swedish House Mafia in July, I am unequivocal in my belief that they will come back with a more refined sound for a possible second album. In one of the tracks, Live Your Life, Arkins asks; “Talented lads or just another bunch of chancers?” I think This Life is proof that it’s the former.
The Original Rudeboys launch their new album This Life with a headline gig at The Grand Social on Saturday 31st of March. If you haven’t managed to get tickets already, they play another headline show at Whelan’s on June 2nd.