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Yesterday's Ring - Diamonds in the Ditch (Cover Artwork)

Yesterday's Ring

Yesterday's Ring: Diamonds in the DitchDiamonds in the Ditch (2009)
Suburban Home Records

Reviewer Rating: 4.5
User Rating:


Contributed by: margarinemargarine
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Some folks, they tell me, 'You just can't play country, you're a stupid young punk and you're from Montreal...' But I'll still make you cry with that song." - "Sad Songs" I first heard of Yesterday's Ring because I was (and still am) a huge fan of Montreal punk band the Sainte Catherines. In 2006.
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Some folks, they tell me, 'You just can't play country, you're a stupid young punk and you're from Montreal...' But I'll still make you cry with that song."
- "Sad Songs"

I first heard of Yesterday's Ring because I was (and still am) a huge fan of Montreal punk band the Sainte Catherines. In 2006, the Sainte Catherines released Dancing for Decadence through Fat Wreck Chords -- punks from Montreal kicking absolute ass, and it got them some well-deserved exposure. So when I started looking into their history, I found that most the band members had also founded a band that was country-influenced: Yesterday's Ring. The fact that I knew Yesterday's Ring's background made it all the more real to listen to. They were punks playing country, and that's what it sounded like. And they did it damn well.

On their latest album, Diamonds in the Ditch, Yesterday's Ring go autobiographical...sort of. The album is about a punk band from Montreal that moves to Florida, tired of cold winters -- ready for anything. When they get there, they instead start drug habits and find that the life they idealized is quite a deceiving affair. Finally, they decide to pack it all up to go back home, and find that everything they've been looking for was there all along.

Now, if this were any other band, you might say in some ways, "I've heard that story before." But given that most of this draws from personal experience (they didn't actually move to Florida, but the rest is accurate), and that the story is such a raw tale in itself, it just grabs ahold of you and you don't want to stop until the album ends. Put it this way: Imagine Bruce Springsteen on Born to Run really does leave for The Promised Land, but ditches his girl and starts a coke habit in the process. Bruce then gets tired of it all (and of all that dancing in the dark), and decides to go back to New Jersey to make it all work out with his beloved Mary and clean himself up. Once that's done, he writes a badass record about the wild, the innocent and the glory days.

Vocalist Hugo Mudie doesn't sugarcoat or overly dramatize what he sings about. It all seems real -- harsh ("You'll break my neck and punch my friends / I'll fuck your girl and write about it in my blog") or sweet ("My baby will never leave me / 'Cause she just knows my love is true / Stay right here in my arms forever / Everything feels so much better now") as the lyrics may get. His singing has a charm to it in the sense that he really does sound like someone who wore out his voice while he was in a punk band, now trying to get his vocal chords to chill out for a bit, and it works in his favor 100%. Musically, you can throw in some Pogues, some Townes Van Zandt, some Ennio Morricone (kudos here goes to great trumpet work by Keith Douglas of the Mad Caddies, and fantastic keyboard touches by another superb Montreal songwriter, Malcolm Bauld), even some Sainte Catherines, and you may have a bit of an idea of what it sounds like. The point here is not to name the sum of its parts, because first of all, there are too many parts to name; second, this band has a sound of its own that goes beyond whatever combination of musicians you can throw at them. They proudly wear 'em on their sleeve, with plenty of references to go by (the song title "They Oughta Name a Drink After Me" is a tip of the hat to the classic John Prine song "Yes I Guess They Oughta Name a Drink After You," and on "What Happens on the Road Stays in the Van," they talk of experiences with Spider from the Pogues and Fat Mike from NOFX, amongst other things).

This is such a fun album to listen to, from uptempo country songs to ballads, punk and even pop, it's all there. It's not only just a great album, but it's entertaining as hell. I can proudly say that I've found a country band that makes me head-bang on the bus on my way to work, and on nights where you've had a bit too much to drink, guarantee it'll make you sing out loud on your way back home. It's the kind of band you listen to that you wish everyone knew about, except, well, it's kind of cool to keep it to yourself at the same time, like a really good secret you don't really know what to do with. I give this album 4 1/2 stars because I have listened to it enough to determine that yes, indeed, it deserves it -- this is not a two-week binge on the same album; this is one that, if you like it at first, will only get better and will stay with you. A 5-star review in my opinion should not be given to a new album -- it takes years to earn (we're talking about a classic rating here!), but believe me when I say that a few years from now I see myself enjoying this album just as much.

One of the best albums of the year so far.

P.S.: If you have the chance, see them live -- they put on a terrific show, and have some of the coolest merch items I've ever seen (they have their own Cajun hot sauce! How many bands' merch items can you say literally have made you cry?! Sometimes they even have a tattooist on site). Oh, and if you really wanna listen to this album right, get it on vinyl -- it has a bonus track which serves as the album's introduction -- and even though it's just over a minute, makes all the difference (you'll understand when you get to the last song).

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
The Sainte Catherines - Fire WorksDillinger Four - C I V I L W A RNOFX - The DeclineDead to Me - African ElephantsDillinger Four - Midwestern Songs of the AmericasNOFX - Punk In DrublicAlkaline Trio - GoddamnitJawbreaker - 24 Hour Revenge TherapyOff With Their Heads - From The BottomNone More Black - Icons

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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.
unwaxed (April 8, 2013)

This album is fantastic...

You should check out the video for the song Scrabble Strip Club here: http://vimeo.com/63473268

blanktapesemptybottles (October 15, 2009)

this album is phenomenal

wallrock (October 15, 2009)

I bought this more or less because of the Suburban Home Summer Sampler song "Punx Not Dead... It's Just Sleeping." I couldn't stop listening to it, so I bought this and a whole slew of other SH releases.

HumanUnkind (October 15, 2009)

I was underwhelmed for maybe the first 2 listens but then I gave this a proper listen and have fallen in love with this album. The songs follow wonderfully and the repitition of the riff from the start in Moving back to Montreal is absolutely killer when it kicks in. Love it. Can't wait for new Sainte Catherines

banal242 (October 15, 2009)

The lyrics on this album aren't very good, but the musicianship is there. Hopefully, they can spend some more time the words next time and it'll be a 4.5 star album.

14theroad (October 14, 2009)

This band is great. One of the better in their genre.

Jonnyrawker (October 14, 2009)

Good review. I loved this album personally. Not a dud on the album.

hobbzoid (October 14, 2009)

the typography of the cover art is so fucking lame and Mayday Parade. I will never be into this record for THAT reason. They blew it on the artwork.

MyStereoHasMono (October 14, 2009)

score is for record cover and example lyrics in review. just awful.

blip (October 13, 2009)

holy crap those lyrics are awful!

hugochavez (October 13, 2009)

best record of 2009

Blackjaw_ (October 13, 2009)

Not really into this kinda stuff (anymore), but this is still ok. I am looking forward to new Sainte Catherines stuff.

EDIT: 2.5 stars is probably more what I meant.

DarrenMcLeod (October 13, 2009)

I listened to this a few times when it first came out, and though it sounded decent, I really couldn't get into it. Maybe I'll have to give it another shot.

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