The Tossers: Purgatory

This has my vote for the best Irish-Folk-Punk album of the year. Everything else I hear in 2003, will have to battle for runner-up.

That previous statement, is basically all I have to tell you. Seriously. All you have to know is The Tossers have released the best album all year. “Purgatory” blew me off my barstool the first time I heard it. (and I only had drank a single pint!) Purgatory will make you laugh out loud, and then shed a tear into your beer. It will make you jump up and dance, then toast a pint with your lads. It’s an album for all occasions, social, or solo, and in this reviewers opinion, it’s the strongest Tossers album to date, and should get the recognition it deserves.

Lyrically, it’s bold, political, and brutally honest. Songs like “The Squall” asks bold questions about the U.S. involvement in the Middle East, (oil, anyone?) and offers honest complaints. The track “Chicago” is more or less autobiographical, and speaks about numerous social issues in South Chicago. With lyrics like “Wear your wallet like a sieve, and that’s where all the gangsters live, Chicago, Chicago, it’s where we can afford to live.” or “I like to get my beer and sit on me front step out by the store. Hangin’ out where white folks fear to tread, yeah, this is my home for sure!” In case you’re wondering, South Chicago is home to one of the largest Irish populations outside of Ireland itself. (Which means, typically, & historically, it’s in a rough fucking part of town.)

Musically, the album is just as impressive, with tracks like my personal favorite, “Minutes On A Screen”, with it’s orchestrated buildup of strings, drums, and vocals, or “Time To Go” (a speed-jig,) they leave you pounding the bar with your fist, in complete agreement. On the last couple of tracks things begin to chill out, with a solo fiddle jam, and on the song “Going Away” which was a welcome surprise. It’s an old-timely folk number, relying heavy on the pluck of the banjo, and the soothing soft fiddle. It leaves you with a feeling like you’re sittin’ on a country porch, in the middle of a session, drinkin’ moonshine, and bourbon, in yer dirty overalls.

Don’t forget about the hidden track! A traditional ditty, “The Parting Glass” is played with respect, using only a fiddle, and vocals.

I finished my pint, once the album was over. As I grabbed the album from the barkeep, he said, “Once again, You walk in with a band I’ve never heard of, and once you walk out, it’s a band I don’t want to forget!” (as he scribbles the band’s name on a beer coaster.)

It’s The Tossers, ladies and gentlemen. The Tossers.

May 2003

Review By Brian “Tosspot” Gillespie

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