The Tossers are a collective that have their roots in both traditional Celtic music and punk rock. According to their website, "depending on who you ask, their name means commode, drunk, or the currency of Britain rejected when the Irish established their independence in the 1920's." They are Chicago natives that have been around now for over 12 years and four previous records.
The Valley of the Shadow of Death is mostly a Celtic song fest although there are exceptions. The most entertaining cut on here is "No Loot, No Booze, No Fun" which has some of the most amusing lyrics of late. "Oh Dee Dee Ramone, where have you gone? In misery all day long, to shoot some dope right into your arm. Oh the sun does rise, the birds do sing. They fly around and s*** on me. There's nowhere to go. No loot, no booze, no fun."
The songs are mostly originals with a few exceptions. "Drinking in the Day" was co-written by Bono, and bits of a song called "Preab San Ol" contains part of another song by Irish legends, The Chieftains. The first part is a traditional drinking song before melting into a Celtic eruption. "Go Down Witch Down" combines some gritty vocals with political lyrics.
Vocalist Tony Duggins sounds like a tipsy Joe Strummer, fitting perfectly into the impeccably performed traditional-sounding music. He is augmented by Dan Shaw on bass, guitarist Mike Pawula, Aaron Duggins on tin whistle, Clay Hansen on banjo, Rebecca on fiddle, and Bones on drums.
The Tossers sound like a band that would be just magic in a live setting. They have a great sense of dynamics, going from sentimental to euphoric, often both in the time it takes to lift a pint. The Valley of the Shadow of Death successfully walks that fine line between the old and the new and has some fun along the way.