Any other Celtic punk band would be hard-pressed to write an album so exemplary of the Paddy punk genre as The Tossers. Though this album incorporates all the standard Irish folk-punk tropes (and even a few cliches) that are to be expected from this genre, The Tossers have managed to produce an almost ideal soundtrack for your St Patrick's Day.
The production on this album is top bollocks, clean enough so that all the instrumentation is well-balanced, especially the vocals, but it's still untidy enough around the edges to feel like a proper folk-punk album. The influence of the legendary Irish punk band The Pogues is immediately evident. It's almost as if The Tossers took up where Shane MacGowan left off after leaving The Pogues in the early 90s.
Lyrically speaking, this album doesn't get unnecessarily oblique or philosophical. Most of the songs are about drinking, drinking, and every plastic Paddy's favorite pastime, drinking. Oh, and they might have also briefly mentioned in passing courting, fighting, and gambling as well.
There were some songs that stood out to me. In particular, the first of which was "Resurrection Mary." The track was somber and moody, a welcome contrast the standard fast-paced major-key drinking songs that are so common to the genre. My only disappointment was that it didn't build up to a crescendo. There was an urgency bubbling underneath that never found any resolution by the end of the track. Just the same, it is indeed one of the best tracks on the album.
Given the scores of redundant renderings of "Danny Boy" fans of Irish music have been mercilessly subjected to over the years, The Tossers actually do the song justice. Plus there's a nice bit of piping on this track.
I was elated to hear possibly one of the best renditions of the traditional Scottish song "Mairi's Wedding." A couple of choruses in Scots Gaelic, the sister language to Irish spoken in traditional areas of the Scottish Highlands, is a bonus as well. And The Tossers don't just do drinking songs. The "Drops of Brandy" medley towards the end of the album showcased their ability to expertly play and arrange traditional tunes.
And you Fenian's will be thrilled to know that you haven't been left out either, as the album closes with a desperate and morose version of The Foggy Dew that I found quite satisfying.
In the Irish folk-punk genre, there is rarely anything new under the sun. Like many albums by Paddy punk bands, this album clearly draws inspiration from the progenitors of the genre The Pogues. It is predictably formulaic. And that is actually the album's strength. When I'm looking for new music in the over-saturated Paddy punk genre, this is exactly what I'm looking for. As much as I appreciate and praise the creativity of some of the folk-punk bands out there, I don't need eclectic reinventions or awkward fusions. I just want something that sounds, well ... Irish.
The Tossers singularly stand out from an ever-growing crowd. Unlike many of the offerings out there in the bloated world of Paddy punk, this album will not disappoint.