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Swingin' Utters - Streets of San Francisco (Cover Artwork)

Swingin' Utters

Swingin' Utters: Streets of San FranciscoStreets of San Francisco (1995)
New Red Archives

Reviewer Rating: 5
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Contributed by: EastBayJackEastBayJack
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In mid 2001 Fat Wreck reissued Streets of San Francisco, which was originally released on New Red Archives. The reissue effectively made the album much, much easier to get. I don't think it is without reason that the people of Fat Wreck opted to do this. Streets of S.F. is one of the best punk al.
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In mid 2001 Fat Wreck reissued Streets of San Francisco, which was originally released on New Red Archives. The reissue effectively made the album much, much easier to get. I don't think it is without reason that the people of Fat Wreck opted to do this. Streets of S.F. is one of the best punk albums of all time, and also one of the most underrated.

The first full-length of this amazing band, this album plays like it's straight out of '77. Indeed, over the years, the band has claimed that the sounds of the Clash and Sham 69 heavily inform their music. I think this is a bit misleading, because although the Utters adeptly capture the sounds of yesteryear, this album more than any of their others achieves a sound reminiscent of '77, while still giving an impression of autonomy.

There are a number of things that contribute to this difference that sets this album apart from all the rest. The first is that Darius, the lead guitar player, is a little more daring, and his riffs are a bit more loquacious on this album; though he exhibits remarkable abilities on this album, he's since learned to control his instruments a lot better. But this tinge of riotousness in the melodies is what makes the album so strangely distinct, without the tautness of the Clash. There are a few songs that are trademark Utters: "Beached Sailor" and "Catastrophe" are two good examples.

Another feature of this album is that, unlike some of their subsequent releases, it's pretty thoroughly upbeat, and these melodies wonderfully contrast with Johnny Bonnel's lyrics, which often dwell on alienation and loss. One exception is "Last Chance", a brilliantly sentimental, almost didactic tune lamenting the loss of ideals and hopes that come with age.

Now what sets Streets of S.F. apart from not only any other Utters record, but the majority of punk releases, is its consistency. As much as I hate to say it, it's more rare to come across a consistent album in punk than it is in any other genre. Streets of S.F. is one of the more genuine punk albums, and as an album grants the listener a feeling of closeness that is so rare these days. From the catchy "Storybook Disease" and "Petty Wage" to the roaring "Teenage Genocide" and "Expletive Deleted," Streets of S.F. is a keeper for the casual and hardcore fan alike. And I daresay that in years to come, it will likely be regarded as a cornerstone in the punk rock canon.

 

 
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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.
madapril (December 19, 2012)

Insanely good album. Not a weak track in the lot. Someone needs to review "5 Lessons Learned".

Anonymous (June 11, 2002)

People who refer to beer as "Brewski" deserve to be beaten. Since when do clinging bottles mean they're drinking ale? What, do all lagers come in cans & plastic bottles? I hate people.

Anonymous (June 6, 2002)

"Go wake up the goats, ya bastard!" I think everyone should buy this album.

Anonymous (June 5, 2002)

my favorite part is where the "crew" is drinking brewski's in the beginning of "catastrophe" and they are clinking their bottles together constantly so you know that they're drinkin' ale, and spittin' and cussin' and talkin' with piss poor british accents, and they're all wearin' fake fucked up billy bob iron deficient teeth because oi! and arr, and bloody sod bugger ...and absolutely fabulous bloodyshite.
of course, i do love the album. but it is rather funny if you give it a close listen.

waste_elite (June 2, 2002)

yes, i'll have to agree, those guitars are quite loqacious.

Anonymous (June 1, 2002)

They are the so damm good the utters

but why will they ever come and tour England...... soon I hope

sockk (June 1, 2002)

yessir, eastbayjack has a large vocabulary.

Vien (May 31, 2002)

swingin' utters has got to be one of the most diverse and articulate punk bands ever. Ever since I heard songs like "promise to distinction" and "the next in line", they where already one of my favorite bands to that point. They still got many many years ahead of them, and are gonna make quality music the way it should be.

Anonymous (May 31, 2002)

Without question one on the best "punk" albums of all time. An essential in any indie punk collector's library.

Anonymous (May 31, 2002)

its pretty good, but its not one of the best punk albums of all time. just one rockin cd

Anonymous (May 31, 2002)

I hate this band.

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