The country punks in the Filthy Thievin' Bastards blend the energetic bounce of the Pogues and the gruff self-reflection of Social Distortion on A Melody of Retreads and Broken Quills. By adding former Camper Van Beethoven guitarist Greg Lisher to the mix, the band captures the grizzled campfire vibe they only hinted at on their earlier EP. The performances have a more rounded feel to them, no doubt because the lineup utilizes several instruments that complement the genre quite well. Singer Johnny Bonnel's lazy, cigarette-scarred voice is the perfect vehicle for the world-weary lyrics he and guitarist Darius Koski wrote for this project. They show a healthy ideology and write about a lifestyle that rarely is paired with the old-fashioned Celtic approach the band takes. Tracks like "Death Is Not the End" reflect a modest sense of self-reliance and confidence that emphasizes positive thinking and a healthy ego without coming off as preachy. Bonnel shows a real talent for writing clever, Elvis Costello-esque lines that have a bite that resonates strongly. And the album benefits from the presence of Lisher, who adds a country-fried warmth with his guitar that was missing from the last EP. A Melody of Retreads and Broken Quills is a tough, intelligent love letter to the punk rock lifestyle that stands as a success for everyone involved.
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AllMusic Review by Bradley Torreano