Down by Law

PunkRockDays: The Best of DBL

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AllMusic Review by

Down By Law's first collection of singles is a surprisingly mixed bag. With 19 songs taken from seven different albums, one would think they could fill a CD with some killer tracks. But their reputation as an important force in punk-pop is not strictly from their songwriting. The band was never bad; in fact, it had some really great songs along the way. But a lot of the songs utilize the same three-chord structure and lyrical content, causing several tracks to just blend together. This is all the more frustrating when held up to the band's stronger material, which can remind listeners of singer Dave Smalley's halcyon days in All. As it stands, there are still a bunch of catchy, fun songs here that make for great filler on homemade mixes. That may seem like a slam but, on the contrary, they still provide great singles despite the presence of some weaker tracks. Anyone looking to start a Down By Law collection should start here; this really does give a good impression of what the band is capable of, and most of Down By Law's best stuff can be found on this disc.

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