Music Reviews

Down By Law


Union Label

Down By Law is a band that was founded at a time when “punk rock” meant much more to its fans than it does today. These days, “punk” means literally nothing, as the likes of New Found Glory, Avril Lavigne and The Exploited all refer to themselves as “punk.” We can easily see that the waters are more than slightly tainted. So what is a band that had a hand in the formation of melodic California punk rock supposed to do in the face of such confusion? Simple, release a record of the stuff that made them famous in the first place.

Windwardtidesandwaywardsails is classic Down By Law, with melodic guitars, buried drums and pounding chord progressions, with snotty voices melted on top. These guys take us back to 1985 all over again on this album, and remind us of a time long past, when punk rock really was something for the kids who felt “out of step with the world.”

Thankfully, Windward… is a tremendous improvement over the confusion that was 1999’s Fly the Flag. The boys have quit trying to be artsy, and they’ve gone back to the aggressive Bad Religion style punk rock that their fans have always eaten up with a smile. There’s not really anything new here, save for the fact that this is probably their most melodic record to date. But these guys are pretty darn old, so you can’t expect them to be breaking down genre walls, can you? Nevertheless, this is punk rock, in its purest form, and today’s youngsters should give this one a listen.

The Union Label:

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