In a day and age where style has taken priority over substance, honest albums from honest bands tend to be few and far between. Luckily, there's still a few out there, and the Street Dogs continue to give hope that punk and rock can blend harmoniously and shine through the shitstorm of modern rock and faceless punk.
You all know the story, but I'll give you "Street Dogs for Dummies" version. Frontman Mike McColgan leaves the Dropkick Murphys to become a firefighter, still writes music, and decides he wants to start another band. Initially, it’s just a small project, but hype builds and the Street Dogs become the talk of Boston with nothing more than a demo. They release Savin Hill, and suddenly the hype becomes warranted. The band follows with Back to the World, and begin touring like madmen, including an opening spot on tour with legends Social Distortion. The anticipation grows for the third full-length...
So, where does this leave us? Well, exactly where my recap ended.
The best description of Fading American Dream is that it begins EXACTLY where Back to the World left off: pure punk-influenced rock music. No gimmicks, no pseudo-image, no bullshit. Anthem-laced tracks like "Not without a Purpose," "Fading American Dream" and their well-tributed Mung cover of "Fatty" provide that feel-good, fist-pumping spirit that remind us why we listen to punk music, and how it's one of the few music genres that transcend culture and trends.
The Street Dogs have also taken another step in proving they are far from just sloganeering street punks. Stripped-down numbers like "Final Transmission" and "Shards of Life" truly showcase McColgan's revered songwriting abilities, and combined with a cover of Billy Bragg's "There Is a Power in the Union," give the album a far greater feeling of depth and substance. Most noticeably would be the band's more apparent political leanings, and a growing skepticism of the hostile political environment growing in America. Well-documented is McColgan's history of involvement in the first Gulf War, however, a more positive and refreshing support of our countrymen and women abroad, combined with a questionable and discouraging view of the motivating political machine fueling the conflict, are a welcome breath of fresh air.
But there's also fun to be had, after all, this is a Boston band. Raucous tunes like "Tobe Has a Drinking Problem" and "Katie Bar the Door" are perfect additions to any late night of shenanigans and debauchery. With their jubilant choruses of mischief and hooligan-like antics, I'm reminded of my high school years of getting completely loaded on cheap beer, laughing at anything ridiculous, and being anxious to find the next adventure of the evening.
For those of you that have been waiting for your Do or Die part 2, this is it. But it's also not. It's the Street Dogs, and if Mike and company continue to create passionate, fun and inspiring music such as this, I won't be concerned with when I'll find the next Do or Die, I'll be waiting for the next Street Dogs album. In fact, I already am.
Stream Fading American Dream on the Street Dogs' Punknews Profile Page