Downtown Struts - Victoria! (Cover Artwork)

Downtown Struts

Victoria! (2012)

Pirates Press Records

Chicago's Downtown Struts play a throwback form of no frills punk rock. It's full of chainsaw guitars, big catchy hooks, and passionate heartfelt lyrics. With Victoria!, Downtown Struts build upon their previous E.P. Sailing the Seas Dry, by showing more consistency throughout. Given the band's sound, Victoria! draws an almost immediate comparison to former Pirates Press label mates the Ratchets and when done wrong, this style can sound stale and come off as nothing more than a rehashing of the early Clash albums. However, with this album, Downtown Struts are able to give their own spin and provide some new energy to this style.

On Victoria! Downtown Struts deliver a musical road map of America and a longing for home with songs like "Back To N.Y.," "Postcards," "Mexican Graffiti" and "Anchors." Standout track "Lost in America" only reinforces this with the lyrics, "Turn down the radio / There's no one else around / Turn up the stereo / I want to hear the homeward sound."

Victoria! is a solid effort from a young band. Recent tours with the Business and a future one with the Bouncing Souls and Street Dogs should help to give Downtown Struts the exposure and hype that they and the music found on this album rightfully deserve.