The Blue Bloods

Death of a Salesman

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In an age where too many cookie-cutter emo kidz and Hot Topic-oriented mall-punk groups are slowly overpopulating the punk scene like kudzu choking out the native greenery, bands like the Blue Bloods are more than welcome. They seem almost necessary. Proudly older and wiser than the average teenage punk band, though still gleefully immature enough to spit out a line like "this one's for you, you fuckin' whore" in the unapologetic "Drink Too Much," the Blue Bloods are an old-fashioned pre-hardcore street punk act. Echoes of earlier bands are obvious: specifically, Tim Baxter's raspy shout of a voice sounds more than a little like Social Distortion's Mike Ness, and the speedy two-guitar riffs recall any number of the second wave of U.K. punk bands from the late '70s in the Sham 69 or Angelic Upstarts style. What makes Death of a Salesman different is that there's a sense of honesty to this album that goes beyond the usual whiny emo clich├ęs or hoary "power to the people" street-punk slogans, so that a song like "Losing Streak" earns its defiant shout-along chorus in the face of adversity. The Blue Bloods are also clearly unconcerned with looking cool: one of the album's best tracks is a completely non-ironic cover of John Cougar Mellencamp's "Authority Song" that strips the original of its callow teenage bravado and turns it into a rebellious pure punk roar. Let's see Good Charlotte try that!

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