Flatfoot 56

Odd Boat

Written by: PP on 27/07/2017 06:04:36

Bagpipe punk never gets old. There's just something uplifting and cheerful about the Celtic instrument when combined with an upbeat tempo and rowdy vocals in a punk rock setting. That's a formula Flatfoot 56 have been relying on for 17 years with "Odd Boat" being their 7th tribute to Social Distortion through a street- and folk-punk platform.

Take opener "Ty Cobb", for instance. It's an infectious, Social D inspired piece of old school punk rock merged with bagpipe melodies and an energetic vocal delivery that recalls Red City Radio's explosive style. "Penny", on the other hand, goes heavy on banjo melodies and a lightning speed tempo whilst vocalist Tobin Bawinkel spits out street style chants supported by classic woo-hoo vocals in the background. A tasteful inclusion of softly sung female vocals give the song a nice break midway through, but it's basically as textbook folk punk as it gets otherwise. Title track "Odd Boat" essentially sounds like Off With Their Heads merged with the old school Flogging Molly sound - straightforward no-frills punk mixed with elements of folk punk and Swingin' Utters style Fat Wreck punk.

Sounds like all is well? Not quite. Flatfoot 56's problem throughout the years hasn't been a steady output of decent punk rock melodies. Rather, it has been the lack of flair and differentiation in between them. Most of "Odd Boat" is decent without leaving much of an impression: autopilot folk punk played in a manner which feels altogether anonymous despite their best intentions. Individually, a song like "Forward" is great with it's wailed up-then-down chorus vocals and tempo shifts, but is it really that different from "Stutter" or "Curtains"? It's the same problem that Swingin' Utters have been battling with throughout their career (who share a common soundscape with Flatfoot minus the bagpipes and banjos): a bunch of solid songs but without the leading one or two strikeouts per album that would take the band to the next level. Until Flatfoot 56 are able to remedy that problem, they'll be stuck to the smaller venue circuit whilst the likes of Dropkick Murphys and Social D play the bigger stages.

6

Download: Ty Cobb, Odd Boat, Stutter, Forward
For the fans of: Social Distortion, Off With Your Heads, Flogging Molly, Swingin' Utters
Listen: Facebook

Release date 14.07.2017
Sailor's Grave Records

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