DOWN AND AWAY: Set to Blow!: CD

(Shout the intro.) I blew my wad on Down and Away’s split with Smalltown, but this full-length leaves me disappointed. Standardization’s the problem. Most of these songs could pass for b-sides to Dropkick Murphys songs. (Raise fist. Mention the streets.) The production’s squeaky clean. (Chorus.) The chops are there. The anthems are all in place (“Hey, ho, come on, let’s go.”), but it all seems so pat, so by the numbers. (Short solo here.) No chills. No fire. (Vague lyrics about us vs. them. Us good. Them, they don’t understand us.) No sparks. Nothing’s embarrassing about this CD, it’s just that so many boots have trampled these same musical avenues, you gotta have new bombs to huck – or, I know it’s a stretch – songs that sound like they haven’t been played a thousand times. That’s the disappointment. Everything on this record’s been done before, and better – like the DKM’s Do or Die – and that leaves us standing around in a big, ol’ streetpunk/oi thought ghetto in very tight pants and careful bootlace selection, staring at one another. (Grab the cymbal so it stops vibrating.)

 –todd (Rockstar)