Downfall of the Working Man

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Dutch street punk bands seem to exist in some kind of time warp, where the Angelic Upstarts and Sham 69 are the be-all and end-all of punk rock, and the ideals of hoarse, yobbish vocals and riff-driven, rhythmic songs have not yet curdled into the tuneless bark and mindless unison riffing of late-era hardcore. Melody still means something to bands like Discipline, up there with thoughtful, socially-oriented lyrics and singalong choruses. All of the above are present and accounted for on Downfall of the Working Man, Discipline's ninth full-length album in the last 13 years. Tough but properly sensitive and realistic when necessary, and filled with a bit more humor than one tends to expect from street punk acts -- the album even contains a readymade football anthem for their favorite Dutch League team, "Red and White Army" -- Joost DeGraaf's lyrics are a good match for his amiable but lived-in voice, which is hardly a thing of beauty but somehow just right for the '70s punk mid-tempo attack of the band. Highlights include the title track and a terrific and unexpected cover of Slade's wideboy anti-violence classic "When I'm Dancin' I Ain't Fightin'."

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