The Tossers - Purgatory (Cover Artwork)

The Tossers

Purgatory (2003)


The south side of Chicago, having a large Irish population that takes great pride in keeping the traditions and culture of the Emerald Isle has produced the Tossers, a band that clings to its Irish roots very tightly and only allow a minimal punk influence in the music.

Unlike bands like Flogging Molly and Dropkick Murphys, the Tossers only have one song, Chicago that has any punk influence in it, and that comes at the end. Their music is similar to that of the Pogues, a blend of traditional music with lyrics that deal with modern social ills, feelings of despair, and drinking. I think that the singer on this has a great voice, very world weary and mournful during the slower songs, but able to pick up and keep pace with the faster ones. I especially liked the a cappella track Purgatory, a lament about a living a painful life, losing people, and what happens afterward, which I thought showcased his talents quite well. Other good tracks included the jaunty Nantucket Girls Song, and Caoin (Lament) a song that made me just want to sit and reflect about life with a beer and a smoke.

One of my favorites was the 9/11 inspired The Squall, which starts out like a typical pub song but quickly turns into a song about the feelings and actions that lead up to the attacks and our response afterwards. This was probably my favorite song on here, not just for great music, but a simple plea in the chorus about just wanting to get away from both sides and be at peace, which is a feeling I have often felt in the past year or so. Chicago is a tribute to their hometown which shows his disgust at the attempt to gentrify his neighborhood with the building of new expensive condos and driving the rents high while running out the old tenets and segregating people in neighborhoods by color. Mayor Daley and the Real World both get blasted on this, and it ends in an angry punk anthem that I can see becoming a closing number at their future live shows. But not every song is serious reflection on life and the trials that people must go through, Monday Morning is a ode to alcoholism and drinking your weeks away, which if you know me I'm a drunk and any song encouraging it just makes me smile.

I really liked the way this band sounds, they aren't overplaying the Irish theme and making it look corny or for show after listening to this album I can tell that this is the music they love and would be playing it regardless of current fads and styles.