The Lucky Stiffs - Gold in Peace, Iron in War (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

The Lucky Stiffs

Gold in Peace, Iron in War (2006)

Pirate's Press

The Lucky Stiffs, or "un-Lucky Stiffs" as punsters would have it, are a San Francisco punk band, pure and simple. Falling somewhere between street punk and pop-punk the Stiffs provide a decent, if not entirely memorable full-length debut offering in Gold in Peace, Iron in War.

The most impressive thing about Gold in Peace, Iron in War is the cardboard album case, dressed in embossed metallic printing on the cover and grandiose artwork on the inside, which comes with a high-quality foldout poster complete with instructions for wheat-pasting on the back. Unfortunately, this glossy professional artwork production seems to have come at the expense of the album's sonic production, which is quite amateur-sounding by comparison. As soon as the drums and bass kick in on the first track, "Masquerade," it's apparent the poor production is as much a part of the record's sound as the gravelly vocals or the palm-muted guitars.

Some of the best hooks on Gold in Peace, Iron in War are found in the middle of the album on "Walk," "Wish You Well," "Anza 9" and "Vacant City." Vocalist Greg de Hoedt doesn't show off the best range on Gold in Peace, and seems to be trying to make up for it with overly dramatic vocals. The album closes with the 55-second hardcore scorcher "This Is Mine," which is good but seems a little out of place.

With this, their first full-length, and having already scored a split with the Bouncing Souls, the Lucky Stiffs have nowhere to go but up. Yes, the album's production is poor, and yes, it could use more hooks, but with the band's work ethic and dedication, the Lucky Stiffs are bound to make a name for themselves -- barring too many more "un-Lucky" circumstances, of course.