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Left of center
The Tossers - Agony
Review by Andy ArgyrakisThe south side of Chicago may be best known for the World Series winning White Sox, along with its peppering of classic jazz and blues clubs, but one of its finest exports also includes The Tossers. Though the band has absolutely nothing in common with any of the above, its amassed a similarly rabid following as the famed baseball organization within its own Celtic rock/punk niche. In fact, the group has no problem selling out virtually every club or pub it sets its sights on (Windy City or otherwise) and opening credits include the lauded likes of Shane MacGowan, Dropkick Murphys and Stiff Little Fingers.
And upon a close listen to the band's latest CD, it's evident some of those acts have crept into the formula, particularly MacGowan's band The Pogues, along with other like minded decedents such as Flogging Molly and Black 47. From the opening revelry of "Never Enough" to the electrifying slosh-fest "Pub and Culture," The Tossers throw the rock n' roll rule book out the window, incorporating the mandolin, banjo, whistle and organ over a raucous guitar and bass backbone. Front man T. Duggins is particularly charismatic on the sing-a-long "Where Ya Been Johnny?," while turning up his punk rock charm on the two minute tongue lasher "Did It All For You."
Though the disc is fairly inventive and follows in the band's already critically acclaimed footsteps, its length of seventeen tracks gets fairly cumbersome at times. Of course, most of the songs are under three minutes and many fans might automatically assume the more the merrier, but there were a few instances where the gang could've trimmed the fat (particularly the haphazard filler "The Nut House" and the dirge-like sleeper "Not Alone"). But thanks to the miracle of being able to skip around a CD, or even more efficiently, downloading the best tracks, the missteps aren't enough to mar an otherwise engaging, albeit left of center, Celtic-tinged tirade.
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