June 26, 2008

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The Briggs, Come All You Madmen
SideOneDummy Records, June 17
The world of Americanized oi was and still is Dropkick Murphys’ oyster, too bad for bands like The Briggs as it turned out. Any band that has a group-yelled syllable in the middle of every line of every song gets branded as a Dropkicks ripoff by casual listeners, effectively negating the years of work turned in by all the muscle-brained bands that helped develop the sound, from pre-Elvis Costello organ-punk geeks like Sham 69 to today’s carefully branded, kid-safe Street Dogs.

The Briggs are from Los Angeles and do capitalize quite a bit on the Dropkicks’ puppeteering of mutt-Irish beer chuggers, but their avoidance of bagpipes and accordions in tandem with a slightly less hardcore sound actually puts them on the same page as prehistoric oi crew The Oppressed. Unlike Flogging Molly, there are no ’80s-metal-ballad overtones, and unlike Street Dogs it isn’t all about jealously exposing the Dropkicks as money-greedy scammers who ran screaming from punk rock. The album is decently catchy from beginning to end, unobtrusive as mood music for rogue packs of pub invaders, and the Irish brogue isn’t heinously overdone. Calculated, yes, but it does fill a gaping void. BEric W. Saeger