Deadly Sins - Selling Our Weakness (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Deadly Sins

Selling Our Weakness (2008)

Durty Mick

Remember the first time you slipped the Dropkick Murphys' fourth studio full-length, Blackout, into your CD player? You were probably overall generally underwhelmed by its lack of bite, but chances are the standout track "The Dirty Glass" caught your ear. Of course, a diehard fan would recognize the track from the Murphys' split with Face to Face, but the newer version of the duet featured a different female vocalist, and the melodramatic but fun bickering soon became a new fan favorite, even being performed live on Jimmy Kimmel's show with the song's featured vocalist, Stephanie Dougherty.

And now, she has her own punk band.

With adjoining fellow members from the likes of Reach the Sky and esoteric Lookout! favorites Even in Blackouts, Boston's Deadly Sins carry the weight of expectations beyond their existence.

This first noticeable trait of Deadly Sins' Selling Our Weakness is that unlike "The Dirty Glass," a relatively light-hearted and folksy Celtic-influenced jaunt, overall Selling Our Weakness comes much closer to a female-fronted Hot Water Music than the Dropkick Murphys. In fact, the only time Deadly Sins even come close to a Celtic feel -- the violin-led "Ashes" -- guitarist Billy Brown takes the lead on vocals. Also apparent is that Deadly Sins feature the inclusion of extremely competent lyrics from four of the five members. Although among the least catchy, "Freshly Minted Royalty" features a very strong vocal performance from Dougherty and some of the album's best lyrics: "The neon glows so bright / Even on the darkest of days / But every blinking sign reads: 'You'll never leave this place.'" On the opposite end of the spectrum is "Yard Sale," with quick-spit vocals from Dougherty and an infectious guitar lead making it one of the most straightforward but effective songs. "Shipwreck" sways along at a pace just slightly more slack, but helps diversify the otherwise fairly homogenous sound, and is arguably the album's strongest track. After alternating vocals throughout most of the album, Dougherty and Brown finally come together for the grandiose album closer "Non-Believers," the most probable pick for a radio single if such a decision were to be made.

Although the familiar voice of Stephanie Dougherty is what will likely draw the initial attraction to Deadly Sins, the veteran songwriting and musicianship of her bandmates solidifies the relevance of this Boston five-piece as one of the year's great break-out acts.