In case you missed my review of Have You Been Drinking this a three piece punk/gypsy/Irish/drunk outfit hailing from Saginaw, Michigan. I have followed them ever since I first discovered their music and I haven’t been disappointed at all. In fact it led me to Deadline Riot where I got to listen to a lot of good music from Don Zuzula and another one of my favorites, Tom McSod during 2014. I don’t often write about albums before they hit the streets but this one is demanding to be written about sooner rather than later.
It’s not often that the word “epic” comes to mind when describing music. Now don’t get me wrong, there are epic songs and albums out there but they are the exception rather than the rule. However it was the first word to come to mind when I got my hands on The Privateer, the upcoming release from The Tosspints. The sound that this three piece outfit achieves is really the core of why I think “epic” when I hear it. There’s a fullness of sound that, when combined with the lyrical pacing and the rhythm, creates a world of its own for the listener. This creates a demand for the listener’s full attention, making the stories told here feel even more personal to the listener.
Admittedly there are some things that tilted the scales for me with this one, the foremost being “Hollow Man”. You see T S Eliot is my favorite poet and The Hollow Men is my favorite poem. Toss in the songs about drinking, the Irish influence in the music, and the sea faring theme and you have an album that could easily be an instant favorite for me. The problem with these topics is always the execution, there are lots of artists out there who just can’t make it happen (and get tons of radio play).
This is not a happy album, nor did I expect it to be, it’s full of the loss, anxiety, and struggle from the working man’s perspective. The depths from which these songs are written are depths that a lot of us struggle to never reach, and for good reason. Don is a combat veteran who suffers from PTSD and those facts color his lyrics, as they should. He doesn’t write from a self-inflated perspective or hero complex but rather as a man who struggles with the things he’s done and the effects those things have had on his life. For my perspective, as someone who hasn’t experienced those things, I can only appreciate his candor and willingness to exorcise his demons through writing and then share it with us. It can’t be an easy task to show your vulnerabilities to everyone who will listen.
The last track on this album is a damn near 16 minute song that, at times, almost gives me an early heavy metal vibe and comes complete with guitar solos, changing tempo, and a Homeric story. While it’s a definite commitment to dive in to the title track it’s a rewarding experience. It’s also one I recommend giving your full attention so that you can really listen and hear the story being told. I don’t know of many Homeric punk ballads and might have even laughed at the idea had it come up before I heard this record but the truth is that it works and it works well.
The Privateer is still in pre-order and drops August 11 but is already Essential Listening as far as I’m concerned. The tension that builds throughout the album and culminates in the title track is almost palpable, this is whiskey drinking music for sure.