The Falcons are the house band of Jersey highways and back alleys, of fast cars, fast women, burning rubber and gun smoke on the eve of a patriot worker’s revolution
GMM records have released the second full-length album from New Jersey’s own Hudson Falcons “For Those Whose Hearts and Souls Are True.” After a blistering first effort, “Desperation and Revolution” what can you expect? A Sophomore Jinx? Hell no!
If you’re familiar with the Falcons, you already know what to expect – balls out, working class street rock-n-roll (heavy on the rock-n-roll, motherfuckers!) For those of you not familiar, well, please, introductions all around: The Falcons have been aptly described as “Springsteen fronting the Clash” or “Van Morrison fronting Cock Sparrer” or my own “The gang from the Wanderers singing for Stiff Little Fingers” (As in, they got that Brooklyn/Jersey Doo-Wop/Chuck Berry street corner rock-n-roll sound combined with the frontrunners of ’77.) Well, that’s about as accurate musically as I can get, anyway. Lyrically, Mark Linskey has always dealt with the plight of the oppressed, whether it be the abused working class, abandoned vets, Irish history/politics, political prisoners or any other faction that has been stepped on – Mark steps up as their voice….and then there’s the good time rock-n-roll and tales of the Jersey wastelands.
A few things have changed since the first album – namely, it’s players. Mark Linskey is still leading the troops into battle on guitar and lead vocals and guitar virtuoso “Uncle” Chris Lynn is still kicking ass on each cut as expected. However, the bass and drum slots have been taken over by former Brassknuckle Boys Craighton Fischer and Ben Glotzbach and they sound tighter than Sister Mary Pat on a Sunday. The band is fucking rocking like never before.
This album works thematically much like some of the Boss and Little Stevie’s old tales (A ripping cover of “Open All Night” is here!) back when they were “Jersey scumbags” (to quote Mark Lind.) Fast cars, fast women, working your ass off for a livin’ and gettin’ by with rock-n-roll are all themes the record sings the praises of. Frontman Mark Linskey’s tales remind me of both the grizzled old bartender spewing truths to his patrons and of the working class Joe listening to them, all the while hoping to change his world, but wondering deep down if he can. A struggle, yes, but as “Disciples of Soul” notes, it’s one that’s worth listening to and worth fighting for: “Here’s to the wars that can’t be won/Another song that shouldn’t be sung/Another soul that can’t be saved/Another man who died tryin’ anyway/I’m gonna die tryin’ anyway.”
“For Those….” is still telling tales of the working class and pro-Union sentiment on cuts like “I’m a Worker” “Scab” and “Real Tough Guy.” The odes to rock-n-roll are still there on “Sleep, Drive, Rock-n-Roll, Repeat” (A close cousin to “L.A.M.F” from the first record) and “Sweet Rock ‘n’ Rollin’ Bad-Ass Bitch.” My favorite cut on the album is probably the heart-felt rocker called “Loyalty” where the Falcons crew outline what they’re about and what they expect in return. No explanations needed. “I got you’re back, now you get mine.”
Linskey gives the middle finger to all those who have given the Falcons grief for their politics (for being too patriotic, not patriotic enough, IRA sympathizers, Communists, etc) on “Requiem For a Patriot.” The line: “It’s the patriot’s duty to speak up and take a stand/Against the enemies of freedom who kill the common man/If we sit and do nothing we’re as guilty as the damned” says it all. Amen to that and fuck off to any thick motherfucker who doesn’t get it.
There aren’t really any Irish-flavored songs on this release, there didn’t need to be. I have spoken with Mark and he is an articulate student of Irish history/politics, so I know he is well versed in the arena. And of course, they covered the old Wolfe Tones classic “Come Out Ye Black and Tans” and anyone who has heard “Brenda Murphy” knows they can go trad. in the wink of an eye, but it’s refreshing in the sense that the Falcons don’t have to include the “Irish song” just to include it for the sake of. Just straight up street rock-n-roll burning as it goes down like a shot of whiskey. (Speaking of all things Irish, though, one of my favorite cuts is “Fallen Heroes” which was co-written with former Dropkick Murphy Rick Barton.)
“No mess, no fuss, just pure impact” (to borrow a time-honored Oi! Slogan) is how the Falcons do it. Time honored traditions and values are what the Falcons uphold. The Falcons live what they preach. They are always out on the road, so come check ‘em out when the blow through your town and definitely pick up this album.
Keep on fighting the good fight – you know the Falcons will: “Every day another fight/Against desperation in the night/It’s the Promised Land we seek/but hey, we’re a different breed.”
Review by Sean Holland