Stray Bullets - The Slings And Arrows Of Outrageous Fortune (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Stray Bullets

The Slings And Arrows Of Outrageous Fortune (2004)

Fork In Hand

"Stray Bullets?" "…The Slings and Arrows of Outrageous Fortune…?" Believe it or not, this isn't hardcore and I'm not FortyMinutesWest. These alcohol-induced, hangover-ridden, generally pissed off folks instead pride themselves on ska-influenced, upstroke-laced, working class punk rock that isn't far from the likes of Operation Ivy and their breakup resultant Rancid, with some definite moments of mid-90s Suicide Machines (goddamnit, I hate agreeing with press release band comparisons). Disparaging offerings like "the cost of living will keep rising / while the chance of finding work is going down" and "I take whiskey in my coffee ‘cause it's cheaper than a meal" adorning their beer-fueled anthems prove that cynicism is still alive and well in Boston. The way lead vocalist Jon Cauztik quickly shouts lines like "evacuate the people from the bullet riddled shops" has me convinced he wakes up every morning to a picture of Tim Armstrong on his bedroom mirror. There are times on this record I could absolutely swear that Armstrong himself provides guest vocals (honestly tell me that isn't him supplying a line in "Gone"), but there's nary a credit in the liner notes. At one point, Cauztik seems to take a cue from another lead vocalist; a younger Tomas Kalnoky could've co-wrote and sung the bridge in "Hey Rebekka," which goes "could you ever love a kid who's done everything I did / there's been a lot of stupid shit throughout the years / I'll admit that it was fun but now I'm hanging up my guns in the hopes that you're the one who wants to hold me dear" over head-bobbing ska upstrokes. Overall, the band's sound is a little too close to the aforementioned bands who helped revolutionize it at the time. But the consistency and catchiness is admirable, and prevents it from acting as a lackadaisical tribute instead of the competent, modestly good punk rock record it is. MP3
P.C. 1
Gone (live)