There have been plenty of great albums released in 2010: the Gaslight Anthem’s American Slang; the Menzingers' Chamberlain Waits; and Arcade Fire’s The Suburbs come to mind. However, there hasn't been a great straight punk album released in 2010...well, there hadn't been.
Enter the Street Dogs' self-titled release.
Street Dogs have long been known as a hard-working, working-class punk band. If the band has an M.O. of any sort, it’s “hard-working, working-class punk.” Vocalist Mike McColgan, an original member of Dropkick Murphys, left Dropkick to pursue a career as a Boston firefighter, for crying out loud. From their debut Savin Hill in 2003 to Back to the World in ‘05 and Fading American Dream in ‘06, Street Dogs have captivated both the street punk and mainstream punk rock audiences across the country.
However, 2008’s polarizing State of Grace was a departure of sorts from their normal street punk sound, and took a bit of wind out of Street Dogs' sails. And it’s not that State of Grace was a bad album, because it’s not. It’s actually the most ambitious album Street Dogs have released. It just wasn't what fans were expecting from the Boston quintet.
But with their self-titled release, Street Dogs are letting everybody know that they’re back, and they’re here to rock.
From the intro track, “Formation,” featuring bagpipes and killer drums, it’s apparent that Street Dogs has a different feel than its predecessor. It’s also worth noting that “Formation” is one of the best intro tracks a punk rock band has ever unleashed.
From there the album kicks into “Rattle and Roll,” which sounds like it came off Savin Hill. For fans of Street Dogs, that’s reassuring, while “Up the Union,” “The Shape of Other Men” and “Freedom” are other standout tracks that will leave fans of Street Dogs' previous work happy.
However, the band didn't just play it safe. While still a punk track, “Ghosts” has a very rockabilly sound. “Oh Father” sounds like it would fit in well on State of Grace, and the songs “Bobby Powers” and “Poor, Poor Jimmy” are slower Irish ditties the band does extremely well.
The only wrinkle in an otherwise great album is the inclusion of a re-recorded “Fighter,” which was an already excellent track on Savin Hill. And don’t get me wrong--the re-recorded version sounds great, I just have never been a fan of re-recording older tracks for new albums. But that’s a minor issue in an otherwise stellar album. I can ignore it.
If you’re a fan of any type of punk rock, Street Dogs will not disappoint. In fact, it might just find a permanent home in your CD or record player.