The Mighty Mighty Bosstones - Pin Points and Gin Joints (Cover Artwork)

The Mighty Mighty Bosstones

The Mighty Mighty Bosstones: Pin Points and Gin JointsPin Points and Gin Joints (2009)
Ska and Reggae

Reviewer Rating: 4.5
User Rating:

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

When I heard that the Mighty Mighty Bosstones were taking a hiatus in 2003, I was pretty bummed. They had been one of the first ska bands I got really excited about and I had loved just about everything they put out. Even had its moments. A few years later, my disappointment was lifted when they an.
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When I heard that the Mighty Mighty Bosstones were taking a hiatus in 2003, I was pretty bummed. They had been one of the first ska bands I got really excited about and I had loved just about everything they put out. Even had its moments. A few years later, my disappointment was lifted when they announced that they were coming back. I was fortunate enough to catch them at Riot Fest last year and they managed to prove that they hadn't lost a single bit of what made them great. There were never many doubts, but four years is a long time for a band to be out of commission.

Pin Points and Gin Joints is the culmination of what fans have been hoping for over the last seven years since Jackknife to a Swan was released. The Bosstones are back in full swing with this record. The last few releases prior had been more rock-oriented with some horns thrown over to give them a ska feeling. This time around, the upstrokes are back and will have fans skanking in the pit all over again. This is easily one of the Mighty Mighty Bosstones' strongest and well-thought out releases and reflects the fact that they spent eight months writing and recording it.

The opening five tracks demonstrate some of the best of what the Bosstones can do. In fact, it's probably one of the strongest openings to an album to come out this year. There is this great buildup over these songs leading up to the highlight, "Too Many Stars." Not only is this the strongest track on the album, but definitely one of the best songs they have ever written. What starts out as a pair of the slower and more personal tracks, "Your Life" and "I Wrote It," serve as a stellar and welcome break in the momentum. The break does not last long as each of the subsequent offerings bring it right back, stronger and stronger, until we hit "Death Valley Vipers" and "The Bricklayer's Story." The last track, "A Pretty Sad Excuse," is a great demonstration that ska songs don't need to be limited to three minutes to be impressive.

One of my favorite things about any Bosstones release is Dicky Barrett's ability to craft an amazing fluidity in his lyrics. The word choice on "Pin Points" feels so deliberate and never forced. The words in "Too Many Stars" flow like a river over the bouncing ska guitar. I was slightly skeptical of "I Wrote It" at first, based on the subject matter. However, Barrett manages to make something as personally interesting as the process of writing a song interesting to the listener.

Barrett's gruff and gravelly voice is nothing short of perfect for the music the band writes and is further showcased this time around. Tracks like "Wasted Summer" and "It Will Be" are listened to subsequent times around with great anticipation just to hear Barrett belt out "That's the way it goes!" or "It will be electric again!" and giving the end that sustain he does so well.

Every single member comes out to shine on "Pin Points." There are horns and saxophones blaring in every song. The guitars tear through ska riffs and transition between that and heavy like nothing. Gittleman makes his bass presence very well known with some great walks up and down the neck. I even imagine manager/dancer/Bosstone Ben Carr skanking around the studio during the recording process. I could go into more detail or give specific examples, but one listen to any track on this record will do so much more than words ever could.

Just when I thought 2009 had delivered every big release it had to offer, the Mighty Mighty Bosstones drop this bombshell. Every single track is a winner and would be welcome in any set list. While no new ground is broken with this record, Pin Points and Gin Joints serves to remind the world that the Bosstones are back and haven't lost a beat.


People who liked this also liked:
The Gaslight Anthem - The '59 SoundThe Menzingers - Chamberlain WaitsThe Gaslight Anthem - American SlangThe Gaslight Anthem - Sink or SwimThe Clash - London CallingThe Flatliners - CavalcadeThe Lawrence Arms - Buttsweat and Tears [7 inch]Rancid - Let the Dominoes FallLucero - 1372 Overton ParkDead to Me - African Elephants

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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.
14theroad (December 20, 2009)

It's ok. Nothing really got me like I wanted it to. It wasn't bad. Just not awesome.

MN_DrNick (December 20, 2009)

Let's Face It part 2

I really did enjoy this.

Sgt_Mighty (December 19, 2009)

If you're looking for the manic energy of their previous work, you'll be disappointed. However, the songwriting here is quite possibly their best ever. A Pretty Sad Excuse blows me away every time.

It's between this and Future of the Left for album of the year.

Also, to whoever was classifying the album as "happy-go-lucky" - try listening to the lyrics.

jacknife737 (December 19, 2009)

"joeg - The worst Bosstones record was pay attention. Hands down."

If by "worst" you actually meant "best", than i agree.

telegraphrocks (December 19, 2009)

Also, the lyrics and subject matter on a lot of these songs are extremely well thought-out.

Do some research on Don Drummond ("Sister Mary"), "Death Valley Vipers" (same song, obviously), the backstory of "Nah Nah Nah Nah Nah", "The Bricklayer's Story".... so, so much time heart put into writing this album.

xchemicalx (December 19, 2009)

a few notes on the comments below:
danperrone - Nah (x5) is a great song. If you think it's "pathetic" you don't get it.
nonemorepunk - "too overproduced" - learn what that means before you shoot your mouth off. Or just replace it with "generic not punk-enough for my suburban ass" comment.
joeg - The worst Bosstones record was pay attention. Hands down.
atlanticavenue - Jackknife was the best guitar work on a Bosstones record since Question the Answers. I love Nate too, but Larry is just as good.

Anyway, 4 stars. Album owns. -1/2 star for the lyrics in I wrote it, -1/2 star for putting the best track on the LP only.

joeg (December 19, 2009)

I've been a huge Bosstones fan but man was this a letdown. Not a bad record but there are no real stand out tracks here. I actually got bored about halfway through which has never happened to me listening to any of their records. It's a terrible feeling but a lot of these songs just sit there and don't do anything for me. A bunch of these songs sound like they could've been throwaways from the Pay Attention and Jackknife sessions. Worst Bosstones record by far.

thegimper (December 18, 2009)

I still haven't got this album.


KungPowza (December 18, 2009)

I really can't get into this album at all.

Cyanotic (December 18, 2009)

I knew the Bosstones wouldn't let me down, this is a kickass album.

chadreligion (December 18, 2009)

To Steven below:

Yes thank god... i can't stand those dumb murphs.

brown (December 18, 2009)

and even though I'm a total fanboy

o rly?

telegraphrocks (December 18, 2009)

Goddamn brilliant. Too early to tell where it fits in their discography, but it's definitely one of the best 3 releases of 2009.

I got this 11 or 12 days ago, and have listened to it at least 5 times per day since then. I'm not even close to sick of it.

Danperone is a douche... that's your third strike, asshole. Please commit suicide now.

Banger (December 18, 2009)

Outstanding album, ranks as one of the Bosstones' best.

stevenj (December 18, 2009)

Good review. Definitely coulda done without deathvalley vipers but the rest of the cd is very strong. I like bricklayers story tho. I think the strongest and most energetic track on the cd is "I Wrote It". I have all the bosstones albums and this one is one of the few I can listen to all the way through and not want to skip any tracks. And to the post before me, you are right, these guys are NOT the dropkick murphys, thank god.

chadreligion (December 18, 2009)

I don't understand what the whole deal with being Irish and stoked for this band.... they're not The Dropkick Murphys.
I've seen the Bosstones in the most random settings and groups; Frat guys, Skins, Rastas, suburban mall-punks, so I guess the only thing matters is that they are still good after all these years?
I have yet to hear this, but very interested....

MilesQToast (December 18, 2009)

this might go in my top 3 behind qta and more noise. it's fantastic.

niveK82 (December 18, 2009)

fap fap fap

Tom_Delonge (December 18, 2009)

Being 1 / 16th Irish is a circular narrative in many ways where it kind of sums up the human race in a time capsule.

facetofacereunion08 (December 18, 2009)

"Your life" is my fav track although one of the more mellow

atlanticavenue (December 18, 2009)

I've always loved this band and am glad they're still making music, but (and I can't believe it hasn't been mentioned here ever) without Nate Albert on guitar the Bosstones are just not the same.

jacknife737 (December 18, 2009)

"Dudes that are stoked on being 1/16th Irish are super stoked."

You sir, go too far.

mattramone (December 18, 2009)

Dudes that are stoked on being 1/16th Irish are super stoked.

paulrulzdood (December 18, 2009)

i'm very stoked to get this.


oldpunkerforever (December 18, 2009)

Love this, what a nice suprise, very strong throughout with Your Life being a brilliant representation of the Bosstones. Good to know these guys can still put out quality music, well done-oldpunker-

danperrone (December 18, 2009)

not a great album, and i'm a huge bosstones album. way too many middle of the road happy go lucky ska songs. no punk rock and no two tone ska/reggae...what gives? jackknife to a swan balanced these perfectly! and the lyrics are also awful.

the best songs are "i wrote it" and "a bricklayer's story". "nah nah nah nah nah" is pathetic.

i-type-poorly (December 18, 2009)

I still love this band a lot. I think Dicky and co are good people and am glad they are making music again - and also have fond memories of seeing them live in my college years. This album is boring to me. I gave up on it after a few listens. I'm glad it exists, for all the fans that love them more than I do, but I'm not gonna force myself into liking it.

badastrojon (December 18, 2009)

this album is amazing - i have been listening to it on repeat since release - everysong is awesome on it except for the terrible/weird death valley vipers

jacknife737 (December 18, 2009)

There is not a weak track on this album. I had really high expectations for this; and even though I'm a total fanboy, they really exceed my hopes for this album.

It's too early to tell where this will rank with the rest of their catalog, because the novelty of new material would obviously bias any decision, but i have a feeling that it'll be fairly high up. This album showcases everything i love about the band. The only major criticism that i would have, is the lack of Dicky's growl or scream in any of the songs.

Stand out tracks: The Route That I took, I Wrote it and Death Valley Vipers (such an unexpected sound, but i love it nevertheless).

Also, nice review.

nonemorepunk (December 18, 2009)

I have to disagree with your review. The Bosstones are more than a ska band, they have always mixed their albums between punk and ska songs and a mix of the two. It has always worked for me in the past. But this release is disappointing. I mean, not even Let's Face It has that many ska songs. There are too many ska songs on this album, some are better than others. Too many of the songs remind me of bits of older songs that are much better, rather than new songs that sound great but still have that Bosstones sound. There are one or two songs here that stand out but for the most part it all sounds washed up a bit to me. The sound on the record is also too over produced. Fans complain that Pay Attention was to studio produced and no raw sound and too rocky. Well it's a far better album than the new one. The guitars don't sound heavy enough when they should be, and some of the horn lines are just standard fare. In fact the whole album sound reminds me of "Bad News and Bad Breaks" from Pay Attention which is a great song and better than anything off the new album, but it just goes to show how poor the new album is if I compare it to that song.

The lyrics also don't help, there is no flow to alot of the songs and too often nearly every song is relying on a big chorus to carry it through. I'm a fan of the Bosstones and I really enjoyed on all their past records, every song sounding like it self. With this album to me the Bosstones have hit a new low. The new album isn't terribel by any means but the band can do way better. It is a listenable record, but pales in comparison to any of their past records. I hope they don't play much off the new album, and I look forward to hearing the old classic material whenever they bother to come back to Europe.

wallofyouth (December 18, 2009)

got "let's face it" as a young lad and loved it, then got over ska and never found my way back to them, despite periodic obsessions with said album. always respected barrett & co. ... wondering if i should get this or work back through the catalog first

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