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Down By Law | Windward Tide and Wayward Sails | review | punk | Lollipop

Down By Law

Windward Tide and Wayward Sails (Union)
by Ewan Wadharmi

Be honest, you only break out your ALL records when you don't have Descendants available. And if ALL is absent, you'll pop in Down By Law. The pecking order is there for a reason: Dave Smalley has never exuded a real balls-out punk presence. And without the sense of humor, you're left with awkward vocal phrasing and elongated measures that make you long for the edginess of Dag Nasty. Even the silly tribute "I Wanna Be in AC/DC" wears embarrassingly thin. And by the time "Easy Streets" seeps in with its Simon & Garfunkel harmonies, the skip button is getting overworked. Smalley's non-committal vocals sound less intelligent than we assume he is. The pasted-on guitarplay serves to fill space rather than to build. As the record rapidly sheds its drive and beat, it becomes less a sub-par pop-punk record and more an adequate pop-rock disc. Down By Law now moves behind Cracker in your rotation.

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