The Word Alive
The Cellar, Southampton, UK - 1/12
Written by: PP on 06/09/2012 03:43:35
Celtic/folk punk extends far beyond the reaches of Dropkick Murhpys and Flogging Molly despite what many believe. One such band is Flatfoot 56, lead by the three Bawinkel brothers and a couple of additional members. They also play celtic/folk punk but with a slightly bleaker and darker mood. It's not all about the jolly singalongs and fun danceathons like the two aforementioned bands, even though their breakthrough album "Black Thorn" was just that.
Instead, their latest album "Toil" presents a significantly more mature sound, one that's far less straight forward punk rock and street punk edge, and far more "Speed Of Darkness"-era Flogging Molly branded contemporary rock. Sure, it's still largely bagpipe and mandolin driven celtic punk for what it's worth, but there are certainly moments where you could liken Flatfoot to be Social D just with additional instruments. That's basically in a nutshell how they've changed their sound, even if it always had some old school influences to it. Granted, they still do have those jolly bagpipe rhythms and catchy punk choruses to some extent, but many songs experiment outside of the box, and unfortunately for Flatfoot 56, fall flat on their face and sound bland instead. It's as if they contain less spirit and enthusiasm in comparison. That's probably not true in reality, at least mentally for the band, but on record it simply sounds less...fun.
Much of "Toil" is moreover plagued by a problem that "Black Thorn" simply didn't have: it sounds very samey. Where "Black Thorn" shined through exceptional melodies, "Toil" merely presents the same sound with modifications for the worse. Yes, there are gang shouts and hardcore oriented pieces, but otherwise the band has steered away from what always made them so good: fun, sing along melodies, infectious bagpipes, and intricate mandolin lines to drive the songs forward. As for individual songs, it's difficult to criticize "Toil" as many of them are still fun-filled anthems, but as a whole, the package doesn't work very well, and feels, well, slightly boring.
Download: Take Hold Again, I Believe It, Terrorizing Truth
For the fans of: Social Distortion, The Real McKenzies, The Mahones, Street Dogs, The Briggs
Release date 24.07.2012
Paper + Plastick