The Tosspints – The Privateer
Saginaw, Michigan folky, post-punks bring a lot of sweat, dirt and fire on their fourth release The Privateer. Much akin to the legendary Ian Anderson, the trio focuses on downhome themes that are deeply rooted to the life of farming, hard living off the land and a life spent away from society. There is a deep need for folk of this nature as the genre has seemingly dried up since the 70s with indie creeping into the mix, and souring up the authenticity of the style tenfold. The Tosspints bring the sound back to the roots while incorporating liberal amounts of rock n’ roll into the brew for a kind of sound that will have you have puckering up your lips in no time flat!
“Pirates Life” has the sweet taste of moonshine all over it. The vocals are righteously blasted and beneficial of more than twenty shots of high proof liquor as the band undeterred let electric guitar licks overdrive to 11, the bass pushes like a bully and the drumming of John Johnson hammers and batters using every fill and roll in his book. It’s a rowdy, bawdy opener that refuses to lay off the punk rock throttle. “Untitled Western” is punk straight from the streets of Dodge City with Ms. Kitty serving cold ones on tap to lecherous coal miners. That twang-y, Horton Heat strum is all over the place, only tuned down to something more straightly rocked out and accessible with Don Zuzula injecting equal parts Hank Williams and Mike Ness into his vocal phrasings as the rhythm section lays into a gallant two-step. “Marching On” melds a tried n’ trued standard in the form of “Johnny Comes Marching” home with a punk via rockabilly stomp with great songwriting and more than a heavy dousing of blues/punk influence, for one of the record’s strongest cuts.
Inciting the congealing of humanity at large, “We are the many” calls out to the few in hopes and prayers that we can take them on and crush them; bolstered by a solid, marching drum groove and drops from client to loud, this tune perfectly showcases the split difference between the band’s folk, punk and rock modes. “My Last and Only Friend” illustrates the love affair between a man and his high-proof spirits over a rumbling set of heavy riffs that twinge and twang that rotates between punk and folk with effortless ease. Stocked to the brim on dissonant guitar chords, the freight train of energetic aggression never stops until it goes spilling over the cliff. Settling into a tough, blues-drenched mid-tempo “Hollow Man” is a mess of hard riffs, rock/punk grooves, taut blues vocals and a rhythm section that doesn’t know the meaning of stop. The urgency of the riff that opens up “How do you Feel” clues you in that this initial grungy slow-burn will turn into a fireball punk jam, and it doesn’t take long for a crashing drum fill to push this cut into a howling chorus with Zak Zuzula’s ADD affected drum work and tempos befitting the classic pacing and paranoia of 80s punk rock sunder. Oceanic themes return on the high-impact, capsizing punk rock of “Sailor’s Grave” which moves like a hull to hull collision between a pair of battleships. There is no slow-down to be heard in this one and the cannonball punk assault never stops from the first note to the last. Returning to dusty, derelict tumbleweed rolling, “The Dregs” fleshes out the full western influence in all of their glory, combining a hard as hell beat with twang-y blues guitar and infectious lyrics that provide the necessary call and response for maximum memorability. The title track winds its way to victory for a lengthy 15+ minutes and ranges from the rustic, folky country centered on a lonesome violin before switching gears to rock, punk, blues and so much more during its lengthy path.
The Tosspints have a sound unlike any other band going at the moment. They aren’t Irish, rural, rustic or arcane in the typical sense of Flogging Molly, Dropkick Murphy’s, The Street Dogs or other folk/punk bands who place Irish influences above good songwriting. No sir, The Tosspints proves that they stand on their own two legs on their 4th record The Privateer. Anyone with an original ear for folk/rock/punk/blues should be jumping at joy at these original sounds.
8 out of 10 stars.