The Tosspints – The Privateer
Spicy trio The Tosspints aren’t content simply to mimic the punk and folk of yesteryear but instead come up with their own potent, triple XXX brew that has as much of a knack for a melody as it does a fiery, riff-wielding good time. If it’s ballads you come for, prepare to be sorely disappointed because this hot-blooded threesome would rather not bother. They’d rather get you rockin’ from the first note to the last; no exceptions.
The Privateer is the band’s fourth full-length release and it does a great job of offering a starting point for those that have never heard the band before as the quality of the material on display is of a high caliber. They come storming out of the gate with the raucous “Pirates Life” which makes much ado of the dangers of living on the high sea. Right from the starting gunshot the band is tight with undulating electric guitar riffs building up to punk rock crescendos, snotty vocals and shuffling rhythms where the bass/drums duel for bragging rights with neither party giving up an inch of ground.
They keep up a hearty twangy on “Untitled Western” which sounds much like Social Distortion hopped up on amphetamines. It’s a fast, unbreakable wall of polyrhythmic percussion, thick bass grooves and plucky country guitar grooves with vocals that keep their presence low to the ground and bluesy. This could be the soundtrack to a killer western movie if they still made those anymore, which they sadly don’t (rare exceptions of course). “Marching On” is tough, denser and makes use of classic songwriting tropes such as “Johnny Comes Marching Home,” as it settles into a busy, weathered military march with haggard punk licks, deep bass lines from Zak Zuzula and plenty of kinetic drum beats to keep it moving forward at all times. That vintage unity vibe of good, solid punk-rock comes into play on “We are the many” and it encourages us to stand up the few as it alternates between slow, rocked-out modes and frenzied punk action with vocals and lyrics calling out for a revolution. Those slinky mid-tempo parts really build the atmosphere for the punk parts to have twice as much impact when all is said and done.
“My Last and Only Friend” is one of those “staring down the bottle with no way out but down” jams with furious guitar strum, crashing snare drums from John Johnson and an excellent mix between relentless hard, punk rock and ethnic, Scandinavian guitar strum that sends this tune into a runaway hurricane of killer songwriting and free-wheel instrumentation that never lets up for a moment. The record’s first real mid-tempo showcase “Hollow Man” offsets its hop-a-long guitar trot with a belted, no holds barred vocal performance from by Don Zuzula. Here he sings a half-shouted, emotional punk-blues that doesn’t sound like anybody else in the business. It’s the most melancholic tune on the record but never forgets about the almighty ROCK. “How do you feel” instantaneously kicks off into a palm-muted, feverish riff that lets the audience know that the punk rock abandon with certainly split the more downbeat verses that are overflowing with melody and passion. Eventually slamming electric guitars careen into Johnson’s hyperkinetic snare fills which launch the tune into the exclamatory blue-collar punk that is the The Tosspints homemade gravy. “Sailor’s Grave” forgets about strict dynamics for a viscous punk-rock romp that’s all about speed and inciting the mosh-pit into the frenzy with relevant lyrics adding a touch of class. A few surf waves are caught in “The Dregs’” bouts of psychedelic guitar work and wayfaring guitar riffs with bouncy, buoyant tempos keeping the water flowing beneath the serpentine verse/chorus vocal arrangements where the entire band takes part on the microphone action. The Privateer the song itself is over 15 minutes of everything the band is good at; from balladry to folksy country introspection to old time 1800s hundred music to frantic punk rock abandon… literally no stone is left unturned in this truly captivating finale.
The Privateer is a fantastic album with stellar musicianship, behemoth vocal hooks and songwriting that will curl your toes in delight. There is hardly anything to be faulted here and it’s obviously these guys have truly honed their chops for their last three albums. Anyone into rustic music with a folk/punk bent shouldn’t hesitate to check this one out!
9 out of 10 stars.