Rather than settle with “Watered-down Rock Scurvy” or “Cut with Baking Soda Rock Scurvy”, the pirate-core band Brine&Bastards has selected nothing short of “Pure Rock Scurvy” for their second album (following Set Sail for Sodomy.) Something of a mini-album featuring only six songs, it nonetheless holds its own as a worthy addition to today’s growing genre of pirate rock.
As with its predecessor, the album begins with an instrumental piece that’s definitive Brine&Bastards. Never Chase A Dog into a Dead-end Alley features tried and true sea shanty tunes re-envisioned through electric guitars and yelling crowds. It’s quick paced, invigorating, and an excellent lead-in to the album’s second song, Drunken Sailor. Again a traditional piece, nothing is changed in the lyrics from what you’d commonly find in traditional versions, but the modern, punk-style vocals and music make this song entirely atypical. While many pirate bands choose to alter the lyrics (most notably by changing the song to “Drunken Pirate”) in order to make it more piratey, Brine&Bastards instead let their musical stylings convey the piracy on its own – and it pays off in every sense.
Shallow Grave is the album’s first original track, being a rollicking tune with a catchy beat and valuable lesson about not sharing secrets with pirates (a dangerous thing to do, as most pirates prefer to silence any potential loose lips.) The Fog follows, and takes a heavier approach to its music as it tells a tale of pirate ghosts.
Shallow Grave and The Fog are both decent songs, but Brine&Bastards are a band that’s at its best when it’s at its worst – meaning depraved. Taste of the East is easily the star of the album, and does not refer to Chinese takeout (well, not in the culinary sense.) Brilliant, quirky, memorable and fun, this is a song about the gift that keeps on giving. It’s a delightfully upbeat song about prostitutes and the STDs they often share with wayward sailors.
The album concludes with F.T.W. (F*ck This World), which might lack the usual pirate references, but certainly carries plenty of pirattitude or, at the very least, profanity. I suppose it could be considered a dedication to a skanky ex, with an oft-repeated message that’s as simple as it is powerful (in short, f*ck this world.)
Pure Rock Scurvy is a fine, fun album for anyone who enjoys some swagger in their rock. It leans a bit more on the rock side than many pirate-core bands, with the instrumentals almost entirely based modern influences than channeling traditional sea shanties. But the lyrics are piratey through and through, and should be well appreciated by those who enjoy the rockier side of pirate-core.