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The New Breed - Off The Beaten Path (Cover Artwork)

The New Breed

The New Breed: Off The Beaten PathOff The Beaten Path (2004)
Thorp Records

Reviewer Rating: 4


Contributed by: adamAdam
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Call it Maritime charm if you will, but there's definitely something earnest and remarkably amiable about The New Breed that I've never quite been able to peg. The Halifax five-piece returns with Off The Beaten Path, a thirteen-track package showing off real growth in songwriting from last year's Po.
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Call it Maritime charm if you will, but there's definitely something earnest and remarkably amiable about The New Breed that I've never quite been able to peg. The Halifax five-piece returns with Off The Beaten Path, a thirteen-track package showing off real growth in songwriting from last year's Port City Rebels, but despite covering very well-trod territory there's something almost intangibly engaging about the band's music.

The New Breed continue to show strong parallels with McColgan era Dropkick Murphys. It's partly due to Jonny Stevens' vocal style, but there's also a similar stripped down, simple-as-a-virtue rock'n'roll feel to this work. Anyone who preferred the Murphys as a four piece, free of the busy instrumentation and huge production values of their later work will feel right at home on Off The Beaten Path. That's not to say that The New Breed are entirely defined by their contemporaries, as they show off a unique character here that I'm going to go out on a limb and define as Acadian. That observation's based on the prominence of a mandolin in these recordings and the rustic Old World folk influences of tracks like "Port City Rebels," "Streets Of Gold" and "Bombs For Oil" (which is one violin short of a full-blown anti-war jig). If not fully Acadian it's definitely in the spirit of Celtic music that Nova Scotia is so known for. Regardless of how many genres I manhandle in describing this record, I can confidently say that these elements are well integrated and never once come off as a gimmick. In that respect there's a huge divide in what the New Breed are doing and the handful of U.S. street punk bands who've taken up Celtic influences in recent years. This just never seems forced.

There's pretty low production values here but on the positive side that means Off The Beaten Path never needlessly pummels you to get its point across. Stevens, like McColgan, has a unique and honest singing voice that, while not without its limitations, is drawn on frequently in lieu of more aggressive shouting. Instrumentally the band isn't doing anything that wasn't done in the 70s but there's an authentic feel to it. The guitar work in the intro to "Smoking Gun" is vintage Flamin' Groovies and the track itself is a great mid-tempo Misfits channelling punk tune. There's nothing here as aggressive as Port City Rebels' anthem "Born Against," but The New Breed's strength is in their songwriting, not their bombast. For these reasons the "street punk" label may be somewhat misleading; this is more in line with the Swinging Utters / Social D' and worlds away from the Unseen / Casualties end of the spectrum.

I'm really pleased with this album. It's an honest, well-paced, soulful record that arrives with zero posturing or overblown expectations. Top if off with some beautiful artwork and liner notes from Relapse Records' Orion Landau and you've got quite the worthwhile release. For your fix of tuneful working class punk rock I can recommend no better than the "bastard sons of the Maritimes."

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
Strike Anywhere - Dead FMGreen Day - WarningBouncing Souls - The Gold RecordThe Marked Men - Fix My BrainTeenage Bottlerocket - TotalBouncing Souls - Hopeless RomanticThe Lillingtons - Death by TelevisionMy Bloody Valentine - LovelessMurder by Death - In Bocca al LupoThe Clash - Sandinista!

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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.
some1 (November 9, 2004)

this is actually really good. not what i thought it was gonna be at all given it's on Thorp and has the same band name as a Sworn Enemy song.

Anonymous (November 9, 2004)

NEW Breed rules

Anonymous (November 8, 2004)

the new breed? more like the in-breed

Anonymous (November 8, 2004)

their first album was great, i bet this will be a killer too.
Greetings from Austria

adam (November 8, 2004)

"Don't get your hopes up, only about 20 people on this whole planet bothered to read it."

The traffic count for the review disagrees with you.

-adam

Anonymous (November 8, 2004)

"THanks again for the great review. It's nice to know that in this jaded world of music we have a friend in punknews.org, my most trusted name in news.

Jonny Stevens The New Breed
www.the-newbreed.com"

Don't get your hopes up, only about 20 people on this whole planet bothered to read it.

FortyMinutesWest (November 8, 2004)

I've said it once, I'll say it again:

Best band on Thorp, by a pretty huge margin.

Anonymous (November 8, 2004)

i see a typo

Anonymous (November 7, 2004)

THanks again for the great review. It's nice to know that in this jaded world of music we have a friend in punknews.org, my most trusted name in news.

Jonny Stevens The New Breed
www.the-newbreed.com

Crookedsuperhero (November 6, 2004)

This seems pretty interesting....it must be a slow release week if this is at the top, though.

Theres no hiarachy system with the reviews, its probably chronlogical.

Anyway, i like the snog you put up as MP3 of the week a while back, i may go for this.

Anonymous (November 6, 2004)

No one submitted a Voodoo Glow Skulls review?

gladimnotemo (November 5, 2004)

This seems pretty interesting....it must be a slow release week if this is at the top, though.

Anonymous (November 5, 2004)

the pietasters' song of the same name kicks ass

Anonymous (November 5, 2004)

score is for hXc. I h8 hardcore.

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