Down and Outs - Double Negative (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Down and Outs

Double Negative (2018)

All In Vinyl/Waterslide Record

Down and Outs are a three piece pop-punk band from Liverpool that sound like a combination of classic brit punk, the harder rocking side of early 2000’s emo (Hot Rod Circuit, Hey Mercedes), and Bruce Springsteen. As bizarre of a combination as that sounds like, it makes for some strong melodies and hooks. Their new album, Double Negative, finds them perfectly positioned for the attention deficient with an entire of album of songs where few of them are longer than two minutes long, and not a single song cracks 2:30.

Probably the best song on the album is the politically charged “You Can Have Your Country Back” which really brings out the Springsteen style with the slow piano as a singer with a very thick accent sings over it with the bitter lament “You can have your country back because it doesn’t mean a fucking thing to me.” “Tea and Sympathy” simply amuses me in that it technically has the same chorus as Rise Against’s “I Don’t Want to Be Here Anymore” without sounding like a knock off of that song. “What Did You Do in the Culture Wars” and “Heartbreak Radio” give us some of the other best hooks of the album.

But while there are no bad songs on the album, and the melodies and hooks are tight on every single song, nothing about the album strikes me as particularly fun. I’ve been listening to this album for about a month trying to prepare for this review, but every time it was just to prepare for this review. Nothing about this album itself particularly made me want to go back to it and listen to it again. In the end, no matter how well crafted your songs are, if you can’t instill a sense of excitement in your listener, then what good is the album?