DEADLINE/BRASSKNUCKLE BOYS: Can’t Be Beaten: Split LP

Deadline: I’m becoming more and more convinced that I’m living in an alternate reality, that I just don’t have ears that hear that same thing as the world at large. While people fawn and goo goo over the Distillers—who I think are “ehh, at best”—England’s Deadline is virtually unknown in the States. While they’re unmistakably street punk, three things save them from being merely stuck in the tight pants, skinny suspender herd. One, they’re fronted by a strident, loud female who can both sing and scream—and there’s just not enough of that. Secondly, the lyrics read less like meathead hooliganisms and bad behavior done by folks with short hair, and more like Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, a great book by Alan Sillitoe. Thirdly, and more important, the songs are catchy, varied, and reminiscent of a mix between early Vice Squad, Cock Sparrer, and, to add some modernity, early Dropkick Murphys. Brassknuckle Boys: Don’t let the name fool you. They’re coming from more the hard-working, hard-pushing GC5 camp of intelligent working poor. Plus, there’s a song titled “For You, Mom” about the misery of abandonment, so it’s not all thick-skull, callus-brain stuff. The easiest way to sum the Brassknuckle Boys up is to imagine if Bruce Springsteen was raised on Sham 69, never had a hit single, and never met the E Street Band. Straight-ahead, whiskey and smoke-voiced, no bullshit rock’n’roll that’s not trying to affect any poses. Excellent split.

 –todd (Haunted Town)