Filthy Thieving Bastards - My Pappy Was a Pistol (Cover Artwork)

Filthy Thieving Bastards

Filthy Thieving Bastards: My Pappy Was a PistolMy Pappy Was a Pistol (2005)
BYO Records

Reviewer Rating: 3.5
User Rating:

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

Most people know Johnny Bonnel, Spike Slawson, and Darius Koski from their time spent in punk band Swingin' Utters, but Filthy Thieving Bastards mark quite a departure from those anthemic punk tunes. Instead of the loud, brash approach that the Utters take, this side project impresses with variety. .
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Most people know Johnny Bonnel, Spike Slawson, and Darius Koski from their time spent in punk band Swingin' Utters, but Filthy Thieving Bastards mark quite a departure from those anthemic punk tunes. Instead of the loud, brash approach that the Utters take, this side project impresses with variety. Koski is a classically trained musician, and it shows with the incredible range of instruments that he plays on My Pappy Was A Pistol.

The organ, viola, violin, and accordion are handled by Koski, as well as his normal guitar and vocal duties, and everything is pulled off with ease. Not content with only those four instruments, however, the band (also including Randy Burk on drums) implements a mandolin, tin whistle, baritone guitar, and a piano. What results is a folksy punk album full of spirit and country twang.

The driving rhythms and perfectly suited vocals sound tight no matter the tempo, even with the random alternations of Darius and Johnny singing. Both have the ability to fit the sound only as they need to, not overextending themselves, but in a way that really gravitates a listener toward these simple songs. That's the beauty of the album, though, what seems simple on the outside is actually fairly complex after repeated listens. There's almost always background singing that have to accent the main vocals, without coming on too strong, and without taking anything away from what's going on underneath the surface. "The Back of His Hand" is a rousing track that implements the tin whistle and mandolin to a level of absolute perfection, with guitars that have a certain country feel as it is. Everything feels so vibrant and alive, like there's a tiny piper on your shoulder and a room full of people dancing right behind you.

Slower songs on the album have just as much to offer, though, as "Mikey Needs to Love" perfectly exhibits. There's beauty in simplicity here, with song focusing mainly on the story that the lyrics are telling, rather than vocals or instrumentation as had previously been the case. And when you do actually listen to these stories, you realize how truly silly that some of them are, and how even more perfectly fitting that is for the kind of sound this band is about. One of the songs that defies their own conventions is the beautiful album closer, "Bad Afternoon Sun," which deals with topics of drug and alcohol dependency, with the especially poignant sounds of the violin in the background while Koski sings "I'll never be constant or stable, I'll never be confidently able / There's only so much I can do, I'd love to split myself in two / Pour yourself to bed, drink yourself to sleep / Drug yourself to dream, you won't remember anyway."

This album is worth owning on merits of that song alone, but the rest of these folksy tunes will keep you coming back time and time again.


People who liked this also liked:
The Lawrence Arms - Oh! Calcutta!NOFX - The DeclineDead to Me - Cuban BallerinaFilthy Thieving Bastards - I'm a Son of a GunThe Loved Ones - Keep Your HeartArmalite - ArmaliteJawbreaker - 24 Hour Revenge TherapyOperation Ivy - Operation IvyAgainst Me! - As The Eternal CowboyBouncing Souls - The Gold Record

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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.
Anonymous (April 1, 2006)

Like most Swingin Utters / FTB stuff, this album will slowly grow on you until you become completely addicted.

Fatty_Arbuckle (February 9, 2006)

Don't have this yet, but the other two releases are great. And everyone should, as stated below, BUY THE FUCKING EP!!! The EP has some of the flat-out greatest songwriting you'll ever hear.

ramo (February 9, 2006)

Score is for Darius Koski. One of the nicest people I met live.

I also have to check this out in the near future.


Anonymous (February 9, 2006)

This score is for Jack Dalrymple....and Mike Ness.

Jesse (February 8, 2006)

This used to be a bluegrass sort of olde-timey revival band, are they still doing that?

Like a Chrlie Poole on crack sort of thing....instead of the regular Charlie Poole: "Fifteen cents for the morphine, ten cents for a beer, fifteen cents for the morphine, gonna take me away from here!"

Fuzzy (February 8, 2006)

Jack D from One Man Army and Dead to Me is now playing guitar with them. Seriously good stuff live.

Johann82 (February 7, 2006)

This album is way better than the first, but it doesn't have a strong closer like "An Otherwise Sunny Day".
New Utters already!

Anonymous (February 7, 2006)

This record is simply AMAZING! I've listened to it over and over and over. The outro on Mikey Needs To Move, the harmonies on Jack Dalrymple (not to mention how funny it is to write a song about the singer of One Man Army), the songwriting is stellar, the lyrics are beautiful, clever, poignant, funny. Every song is great, great, great!

Kids, do yourself a favour, go buy this record instead of that emoscreamoindie crap that's being peddled as music to the masses. This is punk rock from the heart, even if it's not fast and loud. And then go buy some Swinging Utters records, Five Lessons Learned is a good starting point.

Anonymous (February 7, 2006)

This has some really good songs BUT I think its the weakest of the FTB albums. I can't help but be a little disappointed by this one. I'll listen to it a few more times. This review makes me want to give it another chance. I usually love everything involving the Swingin' Utters. 5 Lessons Learned is still one of the best albums ever released.

Phantom_Maggot (February 7, 2006)

This sounds pretty stellar...I might check it out.

Anonymous (February 7, 2006)

isn't that spider stacey of the pogues playing tin whistle and singing "the back of his hand"? and the other song is called "mikey need to move", my favorite song on the album. by far the best album to come out last year, and johnny did the cover art too! great band

Anonymous (February 7, 2006)

i love these guys. we need new Utters though.

Anonymous (February 7, 2006)

hands down the best record of the last 3 years!

sXenester (February 7, 2006)

why is it so goddam hard to find swingin' utters cds around here?

Anonymous (February 7, 2006)

This is by far their best album and probably one of the top 5 best albums of 2005. It really has more in common with bands like the Kinks, Supergrass, etc than the Swingin Utters though.

Anonymous (February 7, 2006)

Yeah, the Our Fathers Sent Us EP is brilliant. The first full-length was pretty damn good too but it didn't have anything to match Early Sunday Morning, Red Roses and Take Me To the Medics, the best three tracks on the EP.

Haven't heard this yet, will have to pick it up.

Psychoos231 (February 7, 2006)

TheOneTrueBill get the ep. Its my favorite tunes of the Bastards.

TheOneTrueBill (February 7, 2006)

Oh yeah, the whisteling on "Like Jack Darymple" is the coolest thing ever put down on record.

TheOneTrueBill (February 7, 2006)

I like this one a whole lot more than their first album (I don't have the EP though). There's nothing that Bonnel and Koski can do that I won't like. It's folky without being too weak/acoustic sounding and doesn't get boring.

I'm going to put this album on now. This definitly helps to tide me over until the next Swingin' Utters album.

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