Punknews.org
The Ducky Boys - The War Back Home (Cover Artwork)

The Ducky Boys

The Ducky Boys: The War Back HomeThe War Back Home (2006)
Sailor's Grave Records

Reviewer Rating: 4.5
User Rating:


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

In a way, it's a shame that The War Back Home resides on an indie label and will be heard by a relatively small audience, and will be reviewed mostly by punk rock fans in a punk rock context. If this were a bigger release, if it had a chance to hit the mainstream, the Ducky Boys would be credited wi.

iTunes StoreAmazon


In a way, it's a shame that The War Back Home resides on an indie label and will be heard by a relatively small audience, and will be reviewed mostly by punk rock fans in a punk rock context. If this were a bigger release, if it had a chance to hit the mainstream, the Ducky Boys would be credited with returning music to its three chord rock 'n' roll roots, while simultaneously bringing a social consciousness back to the genre -- without simply rehashing something we've already heard.

On one hand, The War Back Home is stripped-down rock music. The band has returned to a three-piece for the first time in three albums (only the current lineup was present for 2004's Three Chords and the Truth, however bassist/singer Mark Lind played a second guitar track on the record). There are no guest appearances on the organ; no samples from a scratchy Standells record. Just a guitarist, a bassist, and a drummer, tearing through one song after another. The trio has really made this work. While they borrow the same simple blues and rock riffs as they always have, their creativity in arranging these songs is something we've never seen from this band -- or many others in the history of the genre. Constantly during my first listen, I'd feel I knew where they were heading only to be hit by a musical left hook out of nowhere. And it works. It really works.

On another level, this record carries a lot of political, social, and emotional weight. Lind's lyrics have never shied away from telling things as they are or revealing his own personal stories in an intimate and raw fashion (he likely learned much about writing by watching his brother Rob, the genius behind Blood for Blood), but he's taken things to another level this time around. After lifting the curtain on the flaws in our social structure and our country's foreign policies, the back alley deals and corrupt politicians, the struggle of the poor in America, and the futility of our war in the Middle East, he simultaneously issues a call to arms while accepting defeat. It may seem like the two are irreconcilable, but both attitudes ring true through the lyrics. Life isn't black and white, and Lind has well-documented a journey through the light and dark greys. Some days we have the strength to stand up and do something, and other days we're lucky to have the strength to simply play the hand we're dealt. The songs reflect that; the lyric sheet paints a portrait of someone looking forward to a better world through the bars of the cage they've inherited.

The War Back Home marks another milestone from the Boston (USA) band: They've found some new sounds here. While there are tried-and-true Ducky Boys trademarks peppered throughout the album (including lyrical and musical references to some of their classics), there are songs that the first three records never hinted at. Drummer Jay Messina breaks away from his always-straight beats, adding marches and really playing with the dynamics of the songs. Guitarist Douglas Sullivan (playing on his second album with the band) chalks up some of the best backing vocals I've heard on a record in years. His open-chord playing and clear voice set him apart from the bar chords and vocal Lind-mimicking done by original guitarist Mike Marsden. He falls in as a great contrast to Lind's snarling lead vocals and rough-and-tumble bass-lines. Lind's own voice was greatly improved on the band's last album, and he's taken his singing to yet another level here. He's grown obviously more comfortable in his role as front-man, and sings with a loose confidence that is all new and is classic rock 'n' roll swagger. As a whole, while the group had a history of getting caught in monotonous blocks on their earlier records, every song here has a sound and soul of its own. They hit the mach-speed punk rock tunes, a slow `50s-style ballad, several great rock songs, and they even made a strong go at a reggae-rock track with the memorable "Bombs Away."

This album is great. Fans of the Ducky Boys won't believe what these guys are capable of when they hear it for the first time. Strangers to the band will feel like they've made a new friend for life. This album surpasses the punk rock genre without betraying it, and I can't imagine a fan of sincere, heartfelt rock music not finding something they love here. I can't wait to see what the Ducky Boys do next.

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
NOFX - Wolves in Wolves' ClothingThe Kings of Nuthin' - Over the Counter CultureBouncing Souls - The Gold RecordStreet Dogs - Back To The WorldStreet Dogs - Fading American DreamBad Religion - New Maps of HellAngry Samoans - Back from SamoaThe Drips - The DripsMotörhead - Kiss of DeathThe Diffs - The Diffs

Please login or register to post comments.What are the benefits of having a Punknews.org account?
  • Share your opinion by posting comments on the stories that interest you
  • Rate music and bands and help shape the weekly top ten
  • Let Punknews.org use your ratings to help you find bands and albums you might like
  • Customize features on the site to get the news the way you want.
Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
punkrockgirl78 (January 2, 2008)

You need to due another show with your old line up. Mike Marsden is missed.

Chowdah (August 15, 2006)

This album is alright...but I miss the more street rockish sounds from the "Dark Days" era. Lind seems to be getting more political in his old age. I enjoy the album...but this is less punk rock and more of an experiment in different ways to make the 3 chords sound more dynamic or different. Less like The Briggs...more like Springsteen.

Anonymous (May 4, 2006)

That there link is a link to the band Sailor's Grave, which is infact NOT the Sailor's Grave label.

slick33 (May 4, 2006)

I've never been more than a casual fan of the Ducky Boys...Lind's voice just kind of started to grate on me after listening to their earlier material for awhile. But damn, this is a great record! Sullivan's backup vocals really add something to this band that it was missing. Awesome album...it's a shame, as the reviewer noted, that more people won't hear this one.

Anonymous (May 4, 2006)

no marsden = no thanks

ReducerSF (May 4, 2006)

I think its a decent album but it has less energy than their last one (which is MUCH better).

Anonymous (May 4, 2006)

I haven't heard this yet, so I can't comment on it. I was a fan of Three Chords and The Truth, a new sound for them. My point of all this have all of you forgotten about Dark Days? Tough ass Rock N Roll from begining to end on that disc!

Anonymous (May 3, 2006)

You hate anyone who uses an adjective to describe something? Makes sense. I hate people who can't tell the difference between HEARTFELT/sincere music and trendy, by the numbers bullshit. There's a real distinction between bands who are saying what they mean and singing about something they care about and bands who are putting up a front. How is "heartfelt" a bad word to describe that difference? I haven't heard the War Back Home yet but this review has convinced me to check it out, heartfelt and all.

Anonymous (May 3, 2006)

"I can't imagine a fan of sincere, heartfelt rock music not finding something they love here."

I hate ANYONE who uses HEARTFELT to describe music

Anonymous (May 3, 2006)

[["The band has returned to a three-piece for the first time in three albums (only the current lineup was present for 2004's Three Chords and the Truth, however bassist/singer Mark Lind played a second guitar track on the record)."

That's still a 3 piece you 'tard. You think the guitarist only did one track? of course not.]]

The bassist playing the second guitar track gives it another sound though, and the band had rotating fourth members then and that's why they were adding that track, this guy is mostly pointing out that the band is really three guys now instead of four, they were just between people when they recorded that CD

the War Back Home is killer so far but I've only had it a day now

Anonymous (May 3, 2006)

Very very very good. If it was as long as their last one I might give it a ten.

bobbett (May 3, 2006)

really good stuff, it seems like this is another cd that came out at the right time of year, seasonly speaking.

Anonymous (May 2, 2006)

Three Chords and the Truth was a good album, but not enough to compel me to check out anything else by these guys.

-Chinatown

Anonymous (May 2, 2006)

"The band has returned to a three-piece for the first time in three albums (only the current lineup was present for 2004's Three Chords and the Truth, however bassist/singer Mark Lind played a second guitar track on the record)."

That's still a 3 piece you 'tard. You think the guitarist only did one track? of course not.

Dante3000 (May 2, 2006)

That kid on the album cover is fucking freaky looking. Of course it probably didn't help that I was touching myself as I read the review but still...freaky.
-Dante

gladimnotemo (May 2, 2006)

"(he likely learned much about writing by watching his brother Rob, the genius behind Blood for Blood)"

The words "genius" and "Blood for Blood" have never appeared besides each other before. Great ironic sentence.

almostpunkenough (May 2, 2006)

this album is just fucking great as can be.

massholes make such great music sometimes.

Anonymous (May 2, 2006)

their name kicks ass.

also - sailah's graaayve pwns you.

sXenester (still at school, fuckfacery)

EyesLikeBombs (May 2, 2006)

This band would be huge, if only they hadn't chose such a lame name. Unfortunate...

Anonymous (May 2, 2006)

Can't wait to buy this after classes.
How's Mark Lind's solo release?
These guys are amazing live.

sXenester at school

Anonymous (May 2, 2006)

I can listen to this album over and over and over.

OzmanX (May 2, 2006)

These guys are great.

Anonymous (May 2, 2006)

Great Band....always loved em

Exclusive Streams

Sponsored


Newest Reviews

Punknews.org Team

Other Places to Go