This surly, salty trio from Saginaw, Michigan ignores the pop punk movement of the last twenty years and takes the sound back to its raw roots with some intricate and intertwining melodic movements sprinkled here and there. It’s not so hard as to be labelled “hardcore punk” but you won’t be mistaking The Tosspints for Blink 182 and Sum 41 anytime soon and that’s a good thing! It’s good to hear the sound back in raw form played by people that understand the sound.
The Privateer as a record never bothers to waste your time and that’s probably its most potent attribute. The couplet of “Pirates Life” and “Untitled Western” both play to their themes; the former the rum-drunk punk jig it should be with yo-ho vocals, wasted guitars and waltzing rhythms and the latter an electrified saloon kicker with rural swagger, plastered guitar licks and a lot of blues-doused rhythms keeping the action lively. Further taking the starch out of high-class, pinky in the air elitists, “Marching On” borrows a few bars and lyrical cues from “Johnny Comes Marching Home” before unleashing its own punk rock kegger on the party. This tune is half staggering from the beginning and let me tell you, it doesn’t sober up any as it goes along as the crunching riffs clash with crusty, craggy rhythmic inflections. “We are the many” is a punk standard; the anthem with shout-a-long chorus, lyrics that focus on bringing people together and switchblade riffs that cut a huge swath through the moshpit. You’ll definitely want to get up and start moving around as soon as the first drum beat sends the action into a whirlwind of punk rock magic. Similar feelings are inspired on “My Last and Only Friend,” a sad tale about a love affair with the bottle gone wrong at heart but punching, pure punk at heart that makes Green Day sound like Jewel by comparison. These riffs are set from stun to kill, as the drumming rollicks between smashing snare fills and steady handed, punk rock shuffles. “Hollow Man” is the closest the band comes to a ballad and even it comes off as a mid-tempo hard rocker rather than a dipsy doodle love song. Even though it’s slower and dare I say prettier than the other tracks, it’s still ready for a back alley brawl. The trio of “How Do You Feel,” “Sailors Grave” and “The Dregs” are all heart attack guitars, bashing drum strikes, irritable vocals and dense bass grooves…punk rock by definition with other influences filtered in from the blues, hard rock and old country melodies. But again, this is more punk than anything and stands tall and proud above most acts in the genre claiming to be punk these days. The lengthy, epic closer “The Privateer” is the kind of ambitious, sprawling tune Thin Lizzy would have attempted in their heyday and The Tosspints do a fantastic job of pulling together hard rock, punk, Irish and blues influences into a cohesive, masterful whole that is easily the album’s highlight.
by Lance Wright