Key Tracks: “Up, Down & Wrong,” “I Was Intoxicated”
Boston street-punk legends the Ducky Boys returned from a second hiatus and even more line-up changes in 2011, and their second album since is a solid effort. It isn’t a goldmine, but it holds up remarkably well amongst the albums of their other aging contemporaries. The Ducky Boys have stuck to the same successful status quo, and it produces another good album. Lyrically, the album is kind of all over the place, in a good way. There is some emotional damage coming through in some lyrics, as the Ducky Boys have always defied some punk stereotypes and been ones to open up and explore themselves. There is, of course, typical street-punk songs too. Songs like the title track and the opener “You Don’t Wanna Know Me” exemplify the 90’s Boston street-punk scene that brought them thus far.
Musically, most tracks follow the simple punk formula, which is completely expected. In fact, it is welcoming to embrace, as most punk bands that survive the same length of time that the Ducky Boys have often open to slower and catchier music without any reason. The Ducky Boys have reason when they do, as they occasionally embrace acoustic, bluesy or reggae-inspired rhythms throughout the album, which provide some nice breaks in between stacks of punk songs. When the Boys switch up their influences, they work, because they have their reasoning to back it.
“Dead End Streets,” like many other punk albums, does begin to become tedious by the end, as the band’s better ideas are exhausted earlier in the album. Punk albums tend to have a way of making 34 minutes feel longer. “Dead End Streets” is still a strong record though. It is not completely original, and it does not stand up against classic punk. It does not try to be anything more than what it is, though, and it excels as an enjoyable and listenable street-punk record from some legends.
If you like this, try: “State of Grace” by Street Dogs, 2008.
-By Andrew McNally