Beltones - Cheap Trinkets (Cover Artwork)


Cheap Trinkets (2001)


I've heard a great deal of complaint regarding lack of variety in today's punk rock. These complaints usually pertain to "street" punk, "77" punk, or what have you. Indeed this subgenre apparently requires certain formulae (roaring guitars with catchy riffs, oi like chants, etc). Many bands subscribe to rules of composition and content, and as a result, their songs are hardly distinguishable. The Beltones are not one of these bands. The follow-up to their "On Deaf Ears" EP, "Cheap Trinkets" could not have come too soon. The Beltones are apart from the rest for a couple of reasons. The first is the smooth esoplasy of varying musical styles; the Beltones possess a wide variety of influences-from rockabilly to the Pogues-and the convergance of such varying styles while maintaining a strong punk feel is no easy task. But the Beltones do it really well, and such talent recalls the brillaince of a band like the Swingin' Utters. Another reason this band stands apart from the rest is the emotional depth of the songs. I'm not going to make absurd comparisons by calling the lyrics Dickinsonian or whatever, but singer Bill McFadden is a pretty adept song writer. His lyrics of alienation, pain, lost hope are a refreshing substitute to the "beer guzzling because my girl left me so I'm gonna go to the pub and get in a fight with my bros backing me up" b.s. that is so prevalent in punk today. Highlights of the album include "Ain't No Life", "Better Than a Kick in the Head", "Mr. Wrecking Ball", and "Garbage Picker". Go buy this album. Now.