The Tossers - Long Dim Road
Mixing ethnic music with punk isn't exactly new- As punk spread to
different countries following its conception in England (and arguably the
U.S.) it naturally picked up all kinds of cultural influences. The Tossers
play punk music with a very heavy Irish influence (Celtic-punk). In a way,
it's hard to review music that is tied so closely to the cultural experience
of an ethnic group I have no ties to. I wouldn't really expect the average
Irish person to get the same weird, nationalistic vibe I get when listening
to Kraftwerk. Regardless, my favorite ethnic-punk band is still Scot-punks
the Real McKenzies ("This song is about kicking British ass- just like you
fuckers did in 1776!"- classic). But I digress.
The first song (The Crutch) is upbeat and catchy- Thick regulars may
remember it from the Magnetic Curses compilation. About half the other
songs, including tracks 5 ("mad riot") and 7 ("altercations") also have the
same mandolin & banjo assisted punchiness. A full third of the album,
however, is made up of almost acappella songs (one vocals/drums, one
vocals/guitar, one vocals/piano and one just vocals). For a band made up of
six guys, that's a lot of people sitting around waiting for their turn to
play. Strangely enough, the unlisted 12th track is a straight-out rock
song, and actually pretty good.
The Tossers also have very strong political beliefs, rooted in
anti-racism, anti-corporate, generally leftist beliefs. I've never been
comfortable with most political music. I've always felt it's hard to get
a realistic, practical ideology out in the space of three to five minutes.
Choruses like "Fuck the police" just seem simplistic and not very useful.
If you enjoy political music, Celtic music and drinking you should
probably get this album right away. If none of that sounds terribly
interesting, you might want to pass on this one.
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