There’s nothing more therapeutic amid a pandemic crisis than immersing yourself into a world of Canadian folk music provided by the mighty The Dreadnoughts. Commonly referred to as a musical act reminiscent of the Dropkick Murphys and Flogging Molly, the Dreadnoughts are anything but derivative. Ever since their inception in 2007, their perfectly crafted style of folk-punk with a maple syrup twist has captivated the attention of listeners all over the world. The best way to describe their music would be a mishmash of raucous folk music fueled by Canadian liquor and pirates… sounds impressive, right?
Into The North is bound to get anyone motivated enough to down a half-pint of liquor while dancing as if they have a pirate leg. “Rosibella” kicks off with chanting vocals and musical rhythm that would galvanize the most tepid swashbucklers to crack a smile and join in the shenanigans. The maritime sound here is quite evident, with the inspiration of Great Big Sea being pretty prevalent, which isn’t a negative by any means. Throughout the rest of the album, the rousing beats and eclectic use of instruments provide an entertaining soundtrack to a rum-filled sojourn out to sea. Additionally, the use of rough, chanting vocals tends to be a staple of the workmanlike approach to folk music, complementing the catchy rhythm prevalent throughout. Songs like “Fire Marengo” proceed at a pace that would be more than adequate to engage an entire audience to take part in singing along at a campfire.
There’s also a great sense of diversity throughout the album, with several tracks containing francophone influences. “Pique la Baleine,” for example, sounds as if it was created in an idyllic village in France where baguettes grow on trees. The French influence on this album provides a delicate counterbalance to the discordant nature of the punk-inspired folk music throughout the rest of the album. “Joli Rouge,” in particular, is an anthemic French-inspired track with rhythmic beats and lyrics that get anyone listening to bluntly shout out, “Follow me, lads!” This is where The Dreadnoughts seem to really shine: creating songs that inspire you to simultaneously mosh it up and clean a ship at sea, all the while singing along to your heart’s content. The gang-like vocals are immensely impressive on this album, as most choruses sound like calls to arms that blend into a powerful singular chant, inspiring listeners to take action.
“Dear Old Stan” is probably the standout track on the album for me just because the subject matter pays homage to the iconic Stan Rogers. For those of you unaware, Stan Rogers was a legendary Canadian folk musician, inspiring a newer generation of bands in the genre. All that said, “Dear Old Stan” is one of the slower tracks on the album but resonates very well with patriotic Canadians. Interestingly enough, the song describes the birth of The Dreadnoughts, which seems to have been put into motion after they witness a horrendous rendition of “Old Maui,” a Stan Rogers classic. Disgusted by a local Vancouver band tarnishing the legacy of a Canadian folk hero, The Dreadnoughts set out on a mission to bring back honour to the genre.
Into The North is a brilliant folk-punk album that will be sure to get you on your feet to sing out loud along to the music. While it’s run-of-the-mill folk music with a sharpened edge, the production is excellent, and the entire album is quite a delightful experience.
Written by Jonathan Berthold
*edited by Danielle Kenedy