Street Dogs

Fading American Dream

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Street Dogs sum up their stance within the first moments of their third album, Fading American Dream: "This is a battle cry for the common people/the forgotten, nowhere kids stuck in the middle/We're singing this song for all of the common people/Who've given up so much and gotten back so little." Street Dogs are a Boston punk band through and through, and just as on their previous albums, their working-class roots shine through as a badge of honor amid all of the dripping sweat, camaraderie, spilled pints, raised fists and, oh yeah, hooks galore. Just like their brothers in the Dropkick Murphys, they have no time for here today, gone tomorrow trends; they're way too busy busting out anthem after blistering street anthem. But their energy is directed into more than just sloshing beer around, and this 13- song set voices frustrations at the state of the country even more so than the band has in past. Sure there's the charming inebriation of "Tobe's Got a Drinking Problem," but more often than not, the Dogs are focusing in on questionable politics and how those decisions effect them and their neighbors down the street. There's a lot more heart here than the standard "the President sucks and we're pissed" fare. So just as the sarcastic hardcore punch of "Decency Police" addresses infringements on the First Amendment ("Watching out for us, who needs freedom when you have them?"), the ringing chords of the title track, and "Katie Bar the Door" ("Singing another union song? You're goddamn right I am") focus on families just struggling to get by. There's even a cover of Billy Bragg's "There Is Power in a Union" thrown in for good measure (see above quote), while the Irish-flavored "Shards of Life" and stripped-down "Final Transmission" lament casualties of war from two different angles. No matter what the subject, however, Mike McColgan and crew are seemingly incapable of writing a song that doesn't spur an instantaneous singalong. And seeing as each track is enveloped in an emotional coat of defiance and empowerment, Fading American Dream is simply another heartfelt statement from a band that deserves to be heard.

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