For many people the punk rock genre is summed up by musicians with piercings and tattoos who play really fast songs that only last two minutes at most and that they scream with vehement incoherence. But for those who know the real story the punk rock genre is a Goliath, which branches out into many sub genres and sounds. Perhaps one of the most well known offshoots of the punk rock genre is Irish punk, sometimes known as Celtic punk, whose most famous practitioners include Flogging Molly and The Dropkick Murphy’s.
Another such band that practices the fine art of Irish punk on some of their songs is Saginaw Michigan three-piece The Tosspints. And Saginaw Michigan is a fine birthplace for a band that, on their latest record The Privateer chronicle the working class, the underachievers; those for who a life of heavy drinking is just life.
The trio waste no time getting down to rocking on the stomp rock opener “Pirates Life,” which exists on the planes of both punk with its speedy drums and quick and jutting start-stops, but also has heavy metal influenced guitars which sear through the song like a fired up piece of steel. They show off their talent for genre hopping inducing the Celtic tempo-ed “Untitled Western” with a gritty old time western guitar feel.
But that true classic Celtic punk feel is where The Tosspints really shine. “Marching On” is as political punk as it gets, chronicling a war veteran who has returned home a changed person. The song punches like a fist and there are war cries of “Hurah! Hurah!” as “Marching On” hammers home its theme. The same could be said of the politically charged “We are the Many” with its angry anti-corruption vocals that come out in growls and snarls. Other songs that follow suit are the excellent and true to form drinking anthem “My Last and Only Friend,” and the straight up punk prowess of the short and sweet “Sailors Grave.”
The most impressive part of The Privateer is the sprawling epic final track, “The Privateer” a novella of a song on which The Tosspints touch on multiple genres, going from dirge-y ballads, to thrashing punk, to classic rock. “The Privateer” could serve as its own EP in itself.
The Tosspints could have gone ahead and made a Celtic punk genre record with each song fast and furious anthem to whiskey and poverty; instead they made a well-rounded record that includes a larger representation than just punk. It is a record made by three people who feel that existence cannot be summed up by three chords and a lot of screaming.
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