Down By Law - windwardtidesandwaywardsails (Cover Artwork)

Down By Law

Down By Law: windwardtidesandwaywardsailswindwardtidesandwaywardsails (2003)
Union Label Group

Reviewer Rating: 3
User Rating:

Contributed by: adamAdam
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If I'm not misreading my own opinions, this record makes me nostalgic. "Windwardtidesandwaywardsails" has a 90s skate punk feel to it that, for reasons I have yet to determine, sounds like "the good old days" to me. However this isn't sentimentality as much as it represents a point before punk music.
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If I'm not misreading my own opinions, this record makes me nostalgic. "Windwardtidesandwaywardsails" has a 90s skate punk feel to it that, for reasons I have yet to determine, sounds like "the good old days" to me. However this isn't sentimentality as much as it represents a point before punk music became infected with the sappy mall-emo sound of today. Down By Law don't deviate very far from their back catalogue, but in a field once crowded with similar bands they're looking more unique now than ever.

While by no means groundbreaking, "Windwardtidesandwaywardsails" is an enjoyable collection of tracks sure to please fans of Dave Smalley's other work. The lead-off song "Next To Go" is a blast of speedy punk rock that calls to mind the band's early releases. Just as catchy is the driving singalong street punk of "Put The Boots In." The band's penned some serious Clash worship here with tunes like "Capitol Riots" and "Johnny Law," which respectfully borrow some of Joe Strummer's street-poet writing style. Smalley's at his best during more heartfelt work like "Superheros Wanted" and "Easy Street," both of which allow his vocals to cover more range then the band's faster material.

Unfortunately the record turns out to be a little top-heavy and the momentum lags in the second half. It may very well be the production, but I find myself drifting a bit as the album draws to a close. Bassist Keith Davies and guitarist Sam Williams both contribute vocals to self-penned tracks that amicably stand up against Smalley's own strong material.

While "Windwardtidesandwaywardsails" isn't going to kick off any revolutions, it's definitely not a bad listen for those of us who grew up with the mid-90s Epitaph roster. Five years ago this wouldn't have kept my attention, but right now there's a spirit to these songs that I'm enjoying.


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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
bytheslice (August 15, 2007)

"All Scratched Up" is easily their strongest release, and one of the best records Epitaph ever put out.

TheColonel (February 15, 2006)

It's 2003. The new Down By Law album is coming out. You're excited. A lot has changed since their last album...we've got a new president, the World Trade Center was attacked and destroyed, and we're now at war with Iraq.

In other words, everything has gone to hell in a handbasket.

Come on Dave, talk to us. Give us your take. Give us some insight, some passion, something to chew on.

And then windwardtidesandwaywardsails arrives in your mailbox from Amazon.


Songs about AC/DC, ex-chicks, James Dean, and more whiney, self-absorbed emo crap that you can shake a Jr. High yearbook at.

Then you read that Dave Smalley has started up some "Punk Rockers for Republicans" type club and you pretty just want to hang your head in shame and frustration.

Talk about Superheros Wanted...

higgs (March 15, 2005)

YARGH!! PIRATES!! PIRATES!! PIRATES!! PIRATES!! PIRATES!! PIRATES!! PIRATES!! PIRATES!! PIRATES!! PIRATES!! PIRATES!! PIRATES!! PIRATES!! PIRATES!! PIRATES!! PIRATES!! PIRATES!! PIRATES!! PIRATES!! PIRATES!! PIRATES!! PIRATES!! PIRATE CORE ROCKS!!! any ov u landlubbers know any mental pirate core bands for me and ma crew to beatdown to on our long carribean voyages?? as many as u can PXC ppl!!! YARGH!! YO HO!!

Anonymous (July 10, 2003)

Has anyone noticed WINDWARDTIDESANDWAYWARDSAILS is splet different on the cd itself? My copy says WINDWARTIDESANDWAYWARDSAILS on the cd.

Anonymous (July 4, 2003)

allah knows epitaph could have kept the DBL back catalog in print, but if you can find them, I'd suggest getting blue and last of the sharpshooters. Both very different albums together, and to the releases they sandwich, but good stuff. Sharpshooters turned some people away because its a much more immersive album, you have to get the album as a whole to really appreciate it, but I think its 2nd only to punkrockacademy. That, and epitaph sort of dropped the ball on promoting it when it came out.

They were on epitaph for such a long time, its kind of dumb that epitaph didnt pony something up to try and keep them, considering they used to be an epitaph staple.


FortyMinutesWest (June 30, 2003)

It's all about viking metal! Axehammmer! And yes, that is a real band.

krowdsurf (June 30, 2003)

I tried to start a ninja-core band one time. It was pretty cool for awhile cuz I got this one ninja named Oroko Saki who was an awesome guitarist. His solos were so intense we nicknamed him "The Shredder." He started to cop this huge ego though so eventually he quit and moved to New York. Never work with ninjas. Anyway, I'm way more into Viking-core now.

toma (June 30, 2003)

these have to be the best comments under a review i've ever seen. ninjas rock!

oh yeah, the only albums i have by these guys are punkrockacademyfightsong, all scratched up, and this one and i really like them all. are their other albums as good? since they're out of print and i wanna know which ones are worth tracking down.

Anonymous (June 30, 2003)

i heard when the ninja band is done decapitating the audience they kill themselves with blind rage. then the guitar wailing slowly fades away....


Anonymous (June 30, 2003)

can you imagine it live? cause the whole band is obviously just a fucking decoy playing and singing using a set of pulleys and levers operated by one ninja, while the other ninjas spring out of nowhere from behind, and incapacitate you with rock, before disappearing under a cloud of smoke.

Anonymous (June 30, 2003)

i like ninja-core better than pirate-core. at least on those 4 minutes of silence, you know the ninjas are getting super pissed.


FortyMinutesWest (June 30, 2003)

ninja-core would be 4 minutes of total silence only to have a huge breakdown out of nowhere.

Left_On_Red (June 30, 2003)

Theese gusy are a good band and stuff. I gotta make a poopie .

Anonymous (June 30, 2003)

I'd argue ninja-core would be pretty hard to get across, considering ninjas are so quiet.

Minor Threat

Spikedd (June 29, 2003)

I was always partial to punkrockacademyfightsong. Their cover of 500 Miles is priceless. Flower Tattoo (I think that's what it's called) is one of my favs too. Was never that jazzed by aything else they put out.

funkisdead (June 28, 2003)

this band fucking rocks. they haven't lost their honesty after all these years

TheOneTrueBill (June 27, 2003)

Dammit, you did beat me to it. You said pretty much everything that has to be said.

The first time i listened to this was while driving, and "I wanna Be in AC/DC" made me laugh so hard i almost killed myself

FortyMinutesWest (June 27, 2003)

Hey, you aren't allowed to like Pennywise anymore! But seriously, I'd include Death by Stereo and Bad Religion.

GregSka (June 27, 2003)

Epitaph used to be one of the greatest punk rock labels, especially when Hellcat was starting out. All they've been signing lately are crappy flavour-of-the-year bands, the only thing still going for them are Bouncing Souls and Pennywise

Anonymous (June 27, 2003)

Its grown on me alot since initially liking it. At first i heard they sped up again, which while very good, I really liked the last albums despite them being badly promoted, and not that consistent. I fucking love sharpshooters so I'm not against there less skatepunk stuff.

But after getting over that yes, this has some faster no frills tracks, theres actually alot here that now that its settled in my system I can appreciate. The non smalley sung tracks provide a nice balance in the flow of the album, and it makes me very optimistic at DBL continuing as Smalley's career band, also with direction and life still in them.

And to sing a serious song called 'baked with sublime' takes moxie. The AC/DC song made me smile.


FortyMinutesWest (June 27, 2003)

I'll agree with that too, good ol' skatepunk.

TahoeJeff (June 27, 2003)

I couldnt agree with you more..I miss the 90's skate punk....thats what got me into this whole scene and I have to agree with adam...this sounds unique amidst a see of cookie cutter emo-popcore bands. Epitaph needs to put out more like this

Anonymous (June 27, 2003)

great review .. all scratched up is the best tho.

Anonymous (June 27, 2003)

All Scratched Up is perfect, eat it alive and feel it's wrath... or something

-El Vaquero

ramo (June 27, 2003)

a big ten for pirate-core!!! this album gets 7. go get "punkrockacademyfightsong" if you don't have it. now...how about ninja-core???

Anonymous (June 27, 2003)

great review. there aren't many on this site anymore...


adamvms (June 27, 2003)

Great album by a great band. It does remind me of the DBL of old (which in my opinion is never a bad thing). Anyone else miss the mid 90's when pop punk was good (and so was the warped tour)

FortyMinutesWest (June 27, 2003)

Ninja pirates are the best.

Anonymous (June 27, 2003)

they sucked then;they suck now;they'll always suck

eyeball_kid (June 27, 2003)

I still maintain that ninjas are better than pirates.

Mr_Pink (June 27, 2003)

Pirates are the new monkeys.

Anonymous (June 27, 2003)



toma (June 27, 2003)

i like this album. it sounds like it was made 10 years ago.

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