You can’t beat a bit of classic punk rock n’roll to keep you on the straight and narrow – it’s a guaranteed antidote to any airs and graces you may inadvertently adopt as you go about your business in life. Working Class Life by Toledo, Ohio denizens The Old Breed is just such a slab of unpretentious, no-nonsense ear candy. It’s got no side to it – the band promise a hefty dose of street punk enjoyment, and that’s what they deliver, no more no less.
This is American street punk, so it’s a bit more jaunty and singalong than it’s UK counterpart; You’ll often get hints of the Dropkick Murphys or Social Distortion in tracks like Drinking Tonight and Midwest Morning, making this a record that prompts memories of Friday nights on beer soaked dancefloors rather than Saturday afternoons on rainswept terraces, but the overall effect is the same. You just need to give yourself over to the music. The rest follows like night follows day.
Our Solution brings a bit of old school Agnosticism into play, if you know what I mean, whilst the superb Status Quo is the most British sounding track on the whole album, thus guaranteeing it a special status in this reviewer’s affection.
The second half of the album isn’t quite as memorable as the first, although the insistent primitivism of Start Again isn’t without a certain rebel rousing charm. It’s another visit to mid eighties US hardcore, and you’ll not find me complaining about that.
Final track Rustbelt Sky is rather good too, a sort of all-bases-covered hymn to the Ohio working classes, it’s gang vocals sweeping up the listener and defying you not to get involved on more than just a listening level. Like all the best punk should.
It’s rare these days to come across a punk band that’s as pure of heart as The Old Breed, and that should count for a lot; the fact that their music is pretty good to means you should get hold of Workin Class Life as soon as funds allow. Great stuff!
Working Class Life is out now.