Down and Outs - Forgotten Streets (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Down and Outs

Forgotten Streets (2012)

Boss Tuneage Records

Liverpudlians Down and Outs return with the follow up to Friday Nights, Monday Mornings with a dozen tracks that show a clear line back to the Clash whilst also displaying some of what Bruce Springsteen is all about in terms of "big songs," in addition to directing a nod in the direction of Leatherface as well. With all those elements in the mix, the band has managed to produce an album full of passion and anthems with hearts being openly worn on sleeves, one that's not over-shadowed by comparisons to those aforementioned artists.

Whether one would call this street punk or melodic punk or even a combination of the two doesn't really matter. For me I want to hear a combination that stirs something inside both my head and chest, as this generally means I've found a band, a song or an album that has been put together with some thought and effort. Down and Outs have managed to stir my innards in the right way and with guitars blazing, lyrics being sung (and not always in tune, but that's part of what I like) with gusto and drums being beaten up, the result is hard not to be moved by.

From start to almost finish (more of that later), Down and Outs throw themselves into big guitars and big songs that I'd love to catch live as I'd imagine a sea of nodding heads and pint clenching fists in the air, as they drenched the stage with sweat delivering the best they had to offer.

Those blazing guitars are instantly to the fore with the first track, "Tourist in a Tenement," but ease back a bit with "Don't Believe A Word" before reappearing in a frenzy on "Broken Record." This all builds to "Forgotten Streets," my favorite track on the album. The title track opens with a Stiff Little Fingers-like guitar intro and ascends into more of the same fervor-filled content that the band seems intent on marking out as its trademark sound. There is no real straying from the course set out at the beginning and I've no complaints about that; there might be variations in pace at times but on the whole the ship is steered with ease.

During that journey, which continues nicely with tracks like "Long Way Down" and "Walk Away," I do have to say though that just as land is in sight things come to an abrupt halt with the final track, "Our Independence Day," which just doesn't work for me and derails proceedings slightly. I'm not sure why so many bands tag on an acoustic or less abrasive track as the finale – too often it brings things to an unsatisfactory end.

However, the overriding result is one of punchy and anthemic punk rock, laden with melody and delivered with helping of heart–for one final comparison, think of a Merseyside version of the Magnificent. This is a strong release and one which I believe could well feature in my 2012 top 20 albums.

One final note, this is a joint release with Boss Tuneage being joined by All-In-Vinyl, Waterslide and Yo-Yo Records.