Stiff Little FIngers - Guitar And Drum (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Stiff Little FIngers

Guitar And Drum (2004)

Kung Fu

Recently, punk rock has just become boring. So leave it to a band closing in on their third decade of music to revitalize it with this, their umpteenth full-length release.

Stiff Little Fingers rock through 14 songs on this album with reckless abandon, yet somehow retain a strong pop sensibility. One listen to the album's title track would make Elvis Costello curse himself for not writing the song himself. "Strummerville," the band's tribute to the fallen Clash frontman, is upbeat, peppy, and heartfelt, complete with a "Clash City Rockers" outtro. This is unarguably the album's best song, but there's nary a dud in the bunch.

Singer Jake Burns carries a sticky-sweet melody on slower tracks like "Dead Man Walking", but can then spin right around on the next track, the "Ace Of Spades"-esque "Empty Sky." Burns' voice truly rips on this song.

The only real misstep on the disc comes with track eight, "Be True To Yourself." It's an ill-advised foray into ska, and one that shouldn't really be duplicated. A few other songs are clunky at points, but considering the band is this far into their career, they're not all going to be winners.

Kung Fu has really neglected this album, promotion-wise, and I can't really understand why - this album not only has the nostalgia angle to sell, but it's the best pure punk rock album that's come out in quite some time (beating out more of their reunion-tour peers, as well). A worthy addition to your collection.

Guitar And Drum
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