The Briggs - Come All You Madmen
Record Label: SideOneDummy Records
Release Date: June 17, 2008
I considered just copying a Dropkick Murphys album review and pasting it here, but the urge left after a while. AbsolutePunk.net would probably get pretty mad, and besides, it wouldn’t really be fair to The Briggs, because there are plenty of other bands that they rip off, too.
Come All You Madmen is pretty much a big cash-in for SideOneDummy Records, who needed a response to Against Me!’s airwave-eating New Wave. So, tracks like “Bloody Minds” are as “Thrash Unreal” as possible without steeping over the copyright infringement line. It’s like when a commercial wants the rights to a song but can’t get it: they keep the rhythm but change the key.
But a big Irish influence is what makes these songs memorable, even if it is one directly lifted from the Dropkick Murphys. The Briggs keep the mix fun by tossing in Flogging Molly-esque vocals and a touch of London Calling song structuring to round out their rockabilly vibe. The results are by no means authentic – everything on here reminds me of at least one other song on my iTunes playlist – but they are pretty much guaranteed to put you in a good mood.
Just like any disciples of the Dropkick Murphys, The Briggs know how to serve up a tight batch of songs. The choruses are huge fist-shakers, bringing to mind the later voice-disintegrating melodies of Hot Water Music or even the Lawrence Arms at times (pretty much anyone whose vocals are like audio vodka). Take the opener, “Mad Men,” for example: by the time it was over, I was pretty sure I was drunk just from listening to it.
Since this is primarily a party album, the horrible lyrics aren’t that ridiculous...even if they have pretty much replaced Dropkick Murphys’ Boston love songs directly with Los Angeles. “It’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt” has to be one of the most clichéd lyrics of all time, too, but again, I’ll let it go. It was bad when Pennywise said it, and it’s worse now, but...I’ll let it go.
For the most part, if the next big trend in punk music is this type of feel-good-rock, glorifying the likes of Against Me! and Andrew Jackson Jihad, I’d gladly take it over metalcore breakdown clones and/or mascara. You may feel like you’ve already heard every single one of these songs before you actually have, but that only means you have more of a reason to sing along. And I’ll be honest: as far as rip-offs go, this is a pretty good one.
The Briggs have got a whole lot of energy, and I am looking forward to seeing them at this year's Warped Tour, even if I might regard them as merely a cover band.