There’s an awful lot of same-y punk out there these days. You know the stuff I’m talking about—same three barre chords, cookie-cutter angst-ridden lyrics, testosterone-drenched boy’s anger fantasies, and an almost pathological dislike of clothes in any color but black. Well, to be fair, there’s junk in every genre, but punk seems to have particularly lost the plot of late. So just when I start to think there’s nothing left in punk’s gas tank, a band like The Tossers comes along to restore some semblance of my faith.
These lads from the working-class southside of Chicago can never be accused of lacking heart or following a paint-by-numbers approach. Long Dim Road is a raging and vital piece of well-informed political punk thoroughly soaked in Irish musical forms. The traditional Irish tin whistle and the mandolins and banjos not only liven up every song’s arrangement, but also lend a poignancy to biting lyrics that decry serious transgressions by the power structure, such as government oppression and police brutality. Then, of course, pure punk energy gives the songs a buzzsaw attack.
Long Dim Road is a gem that whizzes by before you know it, in little over half an hour—a welcome respite from many overly-long and self-indulgent recent indie pop/rock efforts. Always concert favorites in the Windy City, Long Dim Road proves The Tossers are 100 percent true to their working-class roots by offering songs of passion combined with a well-rehearsed—but always fresh—instrumental assault. Here’s hoping these Chicagoans can wake up the rest of the country.