Here, we have another showing from the post-oi world of blue collar street/punk. I'm no musical taxonomist, but when one mentions the Dropkick Murphys (among the vanguard of this musical phenomenon), the right feeling comes to mind in mentioning this one branch from the punk tree.
The Welch Boys, akin to many bands with their type of sound, hail from Boston. The strong, distinctive workman's sound of the Boston street punks is definitely coherent enough to stand against the pop-punk hegemony of 2006, and it comes as a welcome relief from the endless floods of (for lack of a better term) really s***ty music. Before I set to work on track listings etc, I'll state that my problems with the Boston scene lie with its undiffering song material and crutch on the power chord. However, many fans love the hell out of these street kids on that very same token, so I'll keep things impartial.
The Welch Boys can be best characterized by the thick power-chord-heavy guitar riffs (not quite overproduced, but thick all the same) and the throat-bleeding vocals of their frontman, Ed Lalli. They keep things simple, concise, and often rely on one or two chord progressions for any one song. The feeling I get from every one of their tracks is that of stumbling out of a bar at two in the morning, piss drunk, and beating the s*** out of some hippies. Now for me, that's one hell of a satisfying feeling, but I'm not quite sure if the metal whores (and I mean that with all due respect) on Thrashpit hate the shiftless f**kers with the same intensity I do.
The album starts off with a bang with a great classic hardcore punk riff, and almost disappointingly so, keeps the exact momentum and pace throughout the entire record. Now, I wonder myself how intentional that might have been, but the same drinking anthems time and time again can wear thin on even the most hardcore of Irishmen (yours truly). Now I must be fair, they're not all drinking anthems, but I can definitely picture myself downing some brews with each song playing in the background. Nevermind the fact I could do that to most any song, but hey, what the hell.
The other major song subject found here is the bond of friendship, male camaraderie, as well as the other major trappings of street punk life. Honor is stressed, as well as duty to justice, and some other Platonic ideals that really can't be addressed adequately in punk rock. I'd say the best songs on this album would have to be Friend or Foe and Can't Wait; although the discrepancy between one song and the next isn't all that significant, those are the two that stand out the most to me.
I also have to give them kudos for quoting Patton. George C. Scott's gravelly, baritone voice is a great way to contrast against Ed Lalli's gravelly, baritone voice; and the sentiment is definitely that of the true working classes when it comes to "the troops." I apologize for being a bit desensitized to the men and women overseas, but I'll be f**ked if anyone's going to shove a bumper sticker down my throat telling me to "support the troops." F**k you. Thank you, Welch Boys, for not being pompous and ubiquitous asswipes. It makes my job that much easier.
In summation, this is a fairly run-of-the-mill street punk album. Just like polka or incest, it's something you have to be into in order to appreciate. If you're a fan of the Dropkick Murphys or the Boston scene, then this might be a good pick for you: but if Throwdown or Black Dahlia Murder rubs your balls the right way, then you might not go for it. Hell, you've been warned.