Ringers - Curses (Cover Artwork)


Curses (2005)

1-2-3-4 Go!

I first heard of the Ringers a couple months ago in an issue of AP. The exact words that I was intrigued by in the short review were when they mentioned how they sound like Dillinger Four. They actually claimed that the Ringers sound just like Dillinger Four. While I knew this had to be impossible, it was enough to trigger some online research. The MP3s I found on 1-2-3-4 Go! Records were definitely enough to make me order their only album, Curses.

These Boston rockers do have some Dillinger Four in them, as in some of the sound, the vocals and definitely in the cynicism of the lyrics, such as "Sometimes this city has a big heart of stone / The sidewalk feels like a snare drum when I'm walking home / And there's always this jackass talking my ear off / telling me what went wrong with the punk scene / then nonchalantly asks if I could get his band some shows." These could be from the Dillinger Four album that we've been waiting for all these years. But enough of the comparisons to the Minneapolis rockers.

Where Ringers really differentiate from what you would expect of this categorization is that they really have fun with these songs. There is a little Tim Armstrong in this band, in the ability to add just enough catchiness to each song that you want to develop some new dance with each track. Almost every song on this album makes you want to sing along, pump a fist and think about life.

The lyrics are definitely what stands out the most on this album. On the terrifically catchy song "Not Many," they really show a thoughtful and mature approach; "I wake up in a place that can't be home and I wake up sort of all alone / My friend is sick but it's not the flu season and I feel like shit, but I've got good reasons / When I wake up I taste the words I said last night / When I wake up, I think: 'This can't be right' / That's not like me." These are not your tired, retread songs about girls or chants about politics. These songs are about life, about growing up, about realizing nothing's perfect, including yourself.

Curses isn't a perfect album, as the production could use some improvement and a couple of the songs don't quite live up to the rest of the album ("Who Killed Darby Crash?"). It doesn't have some groundbreaking style or innovative songwriting. It's just a solid, fun, punk rock record. This is the kind of album that will not disappoint, mostly because it's the first album of a band that doesn't have that large of a following...yet. This is the kind of album that will inspire hope, hope that bands like this continue to show up, that people will continue to seek out bands that seem to be doing this for more that just a paycheck or a legacy. I can't suggest the Ringers and Curses enough for people that are looking for an album that will get them lost for a half-hour and remind them that punk rock isn't all that complicated.

Cue the Strings
For Argument's Sake