Dirty Filthy Mugs - Up in the Downs (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Dirty Filthy Mugs

Up in the Downs (2011)


Aesthetically, Dirty Filthy Mugs resemble the working-class, rough exterior of brusque Celtic punk bands like Street Dogs, Dropkick Murphys, and the Pogues. But musically, their sophomore LP, Up in the Downs exudes a more straightforward and frill-free punk rock tilt, with a similarly generous backing of Oi! influence. It may or may not give them something more of a unique identity, what with plenty of Oi! bands treading this territory for years (Iron Cross?). All that should matter, though, is whether or not the band put a good spin on it.

The answer is, only somewhat. Dirty Filthy Mugs propel a track like "Bodkin Downs" with a confident, snarling energy, but the recording tone muddles the pace some, and sludgy stop-starts stifle the momentum. Short, catchy sing-along blasts range in quality, from the effective "You Want It All" and "Just Another Night" to the slightly more derivative "She's a Riot".

Minor left turns fare well. "Plastic City" shows occasionally excellent melodic restraint, even if something about the delivery is just off. The acoustic/electric hybrid "Outcast" sounds like something a third wave ska band would try. Chopper guitars add a strange corrosiveness to sharp cuts like "Outro".

Up in the Downs has its moments, undoubtedly. But it doesn't quite fully engage the listener through its course. It's a tight, compact half-hour just in need of a few more hooks and well-timed spots of anthemic aggression. These guys probably have "The Gauntlet" in them, but it's not here.

Bodkin Downs
You Want It All