For Fans Of
These here times are troubled for the Celtic punk scene. With Dropkick Murphys getting back to their roots and sounding more like a streetpunk band every day, and Flogging Molly getting super confused and playing all this weird Nordic shit by accident, the paddy’s of the world need a saving grace to shine down and turn them out of the sod, and fast.
Chicago’s The Tossers probably aren’t it, but fuck, they’re doing an ok job anyway.
The band’s third full length effort scraps their usual formula of kicking off hard and fast in favour of the more subdued ‘Katie At The Races’ that, while nice, really isn’t a strong enough number to open an album with. It’s rolling and light and sets a very different tone to previous work from these guys, which may well have been their intention, but even so this one just comes across as filler. ‘Teehans’ redeems this though, with the menacing opening bars giving out to relentless fast pace that has become the band’s signature, and it works really well.
It’s a hit-and-miss ride though, jumping wildly from moments of complete radness, to wondering what the fuck they were thinking (A rendition of the classic ‘Rocky Road To Dublin’ is complete pox, directly followed by the blazing ‘Whiskey Makes Me Crazy’ which is one of the best things I’ve heard from these drunken micks to date) as well as a few recycled melodies thrown in for good measure and some moments of taking a little too much influence from the ‘Rum, Sodomy And The Lash’ days of The Pogues which, come to think of it, can’t really be held against anyone.
The instrumental numbers are the weakest spot here. Anyone familiar with prior releases will most likely agree that these tracks have never really been one of the band’s stronger points, and while technically quite proficient, they’re just flat out boring to listen to after a while and give the impression the musicians are spreading themselves a bit thin.
In all it’s a tough one to judge, while remaining for the most part very listenable, and oft times proving thoroughly enjoyable, there’s just a few too many moments where the music strays from the path and loses the life so vital to this genre, and as a result the record never really gets going. But it’s still great to see this band retaining their traditional Irish style while so many others are changing.
When The Tossers are doing what they do best, they do it better than anyone around at present, when they get it wrong though, it’s complete shite.
1. Katie At The races
3. The Unfamous Paula Spencer
4. The Rocky Road To Dublin
5. Whiskey Makes Me Crazy
6. St. Stephan’s Day
7. 221B / The Sneaky Priest
8. Terry Obradaigh
9. A Fine Lass You Are
10. Breandan O Beachain
11. The Humours Of Glendhart / Ingenish / On The Fly
12. Get Back
13. Hunger Strike / Harmony