The Barstool Preachers – One Fool Down

The Barstool Preachers – One Fool Down
Pirates Press Records

Rating: ★★★★★★★★★☆

PPR139“Never look down on anyone, unless you’re giving ‘em a hand up.” ~The Barstool Preachers. This lyric sets the tone for the debut EP from UK ska punk band The Barstool Preachers. I’ve been listening to the three track EP for a couple weekends now and the more I listen, the more I get drawn into the upbeat hook heavy sound.

If I may make an attempt to describe the sound, (you know I’m going to) I’d say we’ve got about a 60/40 blend with the high side leaning towards the ska end of the ska-punk spectrum. I hear influences of Madness, Specials, NOFX, Dropkick Murphys, Goldfinger, and “Stay Tuned” era Let’s Go Bowling. Of course these other bands may or not be influential in the least for this band, but artifacts or their sounds can be gleaned if you listen in.

All of my perceived references aside, despite lyrics that are tinged with a bit of drunken regret, I get a solid sense of positivity out of this band’s sound. They don’t come across as pissed or whiney, but friendly and real. Sure, I like ska punk and this is 100% up my alley, but the songs tell a story and the sound puts me in a happy mood. The only drawback is that you only get four-ish minutes of this gem.

What you get at the end is a one fine EP from what seems to be a promising beginning to an new ska punk band. Three cheers for The Barstool Preachers.

And just in case you don’t want to take my word for it, please enjoy this video:

-Jerry Actually

The Crisis Kings

(c) 2011


Rating: ★★½☆☆

The Crisis Kings are a new band in the old familiar genres of thrash/grind/hardcore metal. Newly formed in 2011, the East U.K. quartet wasted no time in busting out a 7 track EP. The seven tracks do an adequate job of showcasing the band’s skills and for a debut effort recorded in a pig shed, it really deserves praise just for sheer effort.

The music is great. It is aggressive and brutal with overtones of Sick of it All, but tempered with more plodding riffs and screamo / growl vocals in the vein of Superjoint Ritual and perhaps Crowbar. There is also a certain dissonance that I enjoy. This style is especially prevalent on track 4 – S.O.W. the overall effect really reminds me of Leatherface.

However, (and here’s where we bring in the down note kids) As with so many things musical, the major detractor for me is screaming vocals. I just don’t like ‘em. So take that in stride if you’re reading this review. Again, the music lives up to its brutal roots, but takes it over the top with too much throat sandpaper. Seriously man, you’re gonna snap a vocal cord or something.

But, here, check ‘em out for yourself: http://www.facebook.com/thecrisiskings

–Jerry Actually