steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

The Tossers

"Purgatory" CD

Thick Records

Genres: celtic-punk, punk

Apr 7 - 13 2003

A follow-up to Long Dim Road, Purgatory was an album of high expectations, but The Tossers seem to have been up to the job.  With their own brand of Celtic-styled punk, the band take an edgy, energetic style and combine it with a more traditional song style.  Their tracks are littered with mandolin, banjo, violin, and even the tin whistle, calling to mind the Dropkick Murphys in numerous contexts.

The better tracks include "Chicago," a raucous, punk-fueled tune that crashes along at an unimaginable pace, and "Minutes on a Screen," a dark, calmer song that shows its Celtic roots more obviously by way of a beautifully moody atmosphere.  The title-track, meanwhile, is a bit of a surprise; it's a confronting vocal-only piece, with just T Duggins' voice singing emotionally about the psychology of life.

Purgatory sees the band mixing punk action with the Celtic sound perfectly.  Some tracks have the mandolin and violin rocking away at a crazed punk speed, while others are more slow and thoughtful.  Intelligent, often political lyrics make the album more meaningful that most, and the tight instrument playing and skillful vocals also surpass the quality of lots of punk out there.  I can imagine that the band's style will appeal to both punk audiences and more conservative listeners, the latter of which would be drawn in by the album's calmer bits.  The more energetic bits, meanwhile, are sure to be crowd favourites - they really just make you want to get up and dance.  My only complaint is that long bouts of listening can make their style seem repetitively annoying.  Oh yeah, and the band shouldn't have thanked Hot Topic in their liner notes (Oh boy -Ed).

All in all, this is a fantastic album that sets the bar for celtic-punk.  Calm at times, quick and raucous at others, The Tossers have a winner in Purgatory.


Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 16 songs, distributed by the label, released 2003]