The Street Dogs are a four piece band out of the Boston area and feature some of the best musicians from that region. You get Johnny Rioux working the bass (the Bruisers, the Kickovers, Roger Miret & the Disasters), Rob Guidotti owning his pawn shop guitar (Every Second), Jeff Erna beating the drums into submission (Dropkick Murphys), and Mike McColgan belting out the lyrics (Dropkick Murphys). Now you know who does what and where they came from. With the Street Dogs, everybody’s previous experiences melt together to give you one hell of a record. This album has so much depth and offers a lot for everyone. (Side note: I bought this at the same time as Rancid’s Indestructible and Indestructible has had 2 spins while this one has had over 10.)
Savin Hill starts off with the title track which hits you like a frickin’ train. Loud, blaring, straight ahead punk with life reflecting lyrics. If I change the names, then this could be the sound track of my life. You know growing up getting into trouble with your friends but no matter what happens and no matter where you are today, you are always friends because of all the stuff you did together growing up. (The video is available at www.crosscheckrecords.com )
Cutdown On The 12th is the next song to come pounding through your speakers. Loud, raucous group sing-a-long choruses that make this song great. Very reminiscent of some of the great punk out of Britain between 77 and 82.
Star is a song driven by the rhythm section of the Street Dogs. The bass and drums really carry this song until you hit the choruses and then they come back and hit you again. It’s like a one-two punch to the head from Mike Tyson (except there is less brain damage from this song, I think).
Fighter has everything I look for in a song. Meaningful lyrics, excellent music, and a fist-pumping sing-a-long chorus. (You can download this song from the Street Dogs website www.street-dogs.com and will basically show you the Street Dogs sound).
The Pilgrim: Chapter 33 is a cover of a Kris Kristofferson song. Yes, it is sometimes scary when someone covers a country song. The lyrics are straight from the gutter (“See him wasted on the sidewalk, in his jacket and his jeans. Wearing yesterday’s misfortunes like a smile”) The Street Dogs make this song their own and give it a punk makeover with great vocal exchanges between Mike and the rest of the band.
Justifiable Fisticuffs is probably one of the best songs if heard in a really long time. The tempo is slow but it is so damn powerful. Dicky Barrett from the Bosstones helps to provide some nice gritty vocals to this song.
Stand Up makes me want to jump up, take the world by its collar and kick it in the balls. Al Barr and Ken Casey from the Dropkick Murphys each sing a chorus on this song. This song could easily have fit on any of the Dropkick’s albums.
When It Ends is a fantastic break-up song. It’s not cheesy, it’s not sappy, it’s just letting you know it will happen again and again, until you change your habits.
Don’t Preach To Me has a late 80’s hardcore feel to it with portions of it boarding on, dare I say it, metal. I think this comparison comes from how the chorus sounds. It sounds very manly, you can hear it bellowing up from those uttering “Don’t Preach To Me”.
2 Bottles is an acoustic number with very reflective personal lyrics. This song is very passionate and I’m sure will mean something different to each person who listens.
Declaration picks up the speed and is calling for everyone to get up and do something do make this world a better place cause our time is now.
Jakes is a song that reminds me a little bit of how the US Bombs sounded during War Birth. Great song structure.
Last Call futures some clean guitar work and seems to have the US Bombs carry over from the last song, except the vocals are a lot better than anything the Bombs have ever done.
Boston Breakout. Yeah, the boys take Sham 69’s Borstal Breakout and give it the Boston punk treatment. Starts off with a good growl and then explodes in your face. I don’t know how any venue in the North East will be left standing after this one gets played live.
Modern Day Labor Anthem is a slow number, with some kind of weird groove thing happening. Truly amazing. I would love to hear this done acoustic. I think this song could bring Billy Bragg to tears since I don’t think anyone has written anything like this since Mr Bragg’s “Talking with the Taxman About Poetry”.
I love all the songs on this album but have two somewhat negative things to say about this album. Number one, I hate cardboard jewel cases. They always break. If I want a cardboard case then I’ll buy the album on vinyl. Number two, some songs sound too produced. I think I would have liked Star even more if the guitar was a little dirtier. If these are my only two complaints, then you should know this a kickin’ album cause I hate most of the so-called “punk” music out there today.