By Steve Weinstein
By Bryan Bierman
By Lindsey Rhoades
By Chaz Kangas
By Ben Westhoff and Sarah Purkrabek
By Jena Ardell
By Jesse Sendejas Jr.
By Katherine Turman
Urchins with hearts of gold and a bottomless song supply, not unlike their pals Rancid. Philosophy: The best fights occur at hockey games; the best romances at establishments with Guinness on tap. Proud Irish louts pulling an entire career out of the Pogues' first album, moving toward both straighter working-class melodrama and the Kingston Trio as their once bald audience expands to include every Bruins fan in Boston. So: bagpiped labor anthems as always, but this time the standouts chastise a deadbeat dad, catalog shitfaced pickup-line lies, and pit a spurned barfly against an older and wiser barmaid. Author of the timely, eye-blackening title track: Woody Guthrie.
Now and Then
Six different songs; three done twice. Four live in 1980 before these Philly unknowns learned their instruments; four studio in 2002; one goose-stepping live 2003 cover of Mel Brooks's "Springtime for Hitler," dedicated to the U.S. government. ("It's good we have a left-wing audience.") "(At the) Hot Club" stays true to the Orlons' safe South Street shlock'n'stroll tradition; "Wasn't Born to Work" is the labor anthem. Between, over a Link Wray vamp building into feedback and saxblurt, "If the Flys are Alive" creates a legend for the ages out of the half-remembered tale of an all-girl punk band that may or may not have actually existed.
The Honeymoon Is Over," "The Death of a Rolling Stone" (which sounds more like Mitch Ryder), and the 1962 oldies-weekend prom ballad "Tonight I Want to Be Alone" suggest Tyler Keith's girlfriend might wanna consider her options. "Adult High" has musicians hanging onto 16 as long as they can; "Sweet Bitch" 's sweet swish traces hot-child-in-the-city titties back to Marc Bolan; the three-guitared Mississippi band's theme song steals riffs from Skynyrd's "Gimme Three Steps." But Tyler says even more about being a preacher's kid in the even wilder "Be Sure Your Sins (Will Find You Out)"recommended to Chief Justice Ray Moore of Alabama.