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The Tossers - On a Fine Spring Evening Album Cover

The Tossers - On a Fine Spring Evening

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7.9
The Tossers - On a Fine Spring Evening
Record Label: Victory Records
Release Date: October 28, 2008
Formed in 1993 on the south side of Chicago, The Tossers followed in the wake of seminal celtic punk group the Pogues. Having formed well before current mainstays such as Dropkick Murphys and Flogging Molly (both great in their own right), but not garnering much mainstream attention until their signing to Victory, there is a common misconception that The Tossers were simply another Victory Records band jumping on one more bandwagon. The truth is, they have spent ample time over the years honing their craft, presenting a tighter, more cohesive sound with each new offering. However, their latest effort, On a Fine Spring Evening, is just a bit of a step backwards. Thankfully, it's just that - a step, rather than a leap.

One of the most noticeable differences right away is the absence of banjo player Clay Hansen, whose five-string picking lent a distinguishable touch of authenticity and depth to the band's sound, which has always leaned more towards folk than punk. That being said, it is not a huge disadvantage, but it is a rather obvious difference. But what is perhaps the album's biggest shortcoming is that it sounds rather rushed. It's been just a little over a year since the band's previous studio recording Agony, an album breaming with life, melody, and musicianship, and it shows. Some songs here seem to pass by just as pedestrian as a stranger on the street, while others command your attention and stick in your head immediately. This sort of inconsistency is fairly uncharacteristic of a Tossers record, and may throw listeners for a loop on immediate listens.

But not all is bleak. Let's focus on the positives, which thankfully outweigh the negatives. For one thing, this does, all disappointments cast aside, sound like a Tossers album. No curve balls, no out of left field dabbling, just old fashioned folk meets spirited punk rock energy, Pub-ready and lift-your-glass-and-sing-a-long friendly. Like the band's past recordings, there is a satisfying balance of up-tempo tunes, smooth, rolling ballads, and manic floor-stompers, all of which segue into one another surprisingly well. Opening track "Katie at the Races" is reminiscent of classic Tossers, with a memorable hook, and lyrics that tell of a day at the track with a rather eager woman and a beverage or (certainly more than) two. "St. Stephen's Day" is a somber ballad that spins another classic tale of doubt, debauchery and death - all wrapped up in a lovely melody. The two instrumental cuts, "221B/The Sneaky Priest" and "The Humors Of Glendart/Ingenish/On the Fly" (both are traditionals) harken back to the glory days of Celtic folk favorites such as the Chieftains or the Dubliners. These two additions provide a fresh new side to the band's music, offering a refreshing break form the frantic punk-rock leanings that generally seem to characterize them. "A Fine Lass" is another stand out track, and could potentially be radio single material.

So while the album is something of a disappointment, it's still a welcome addition to the Tossers' catalog, and shows signs of good things for the band to come on future albums. Here's hoping they find a steadier footing on their next effort, and hey, maybe the re-inclusion of that unmistakeable banjo pickin'!

Recommended if You LikeThe Pogues; The Mahones; Flogging Molly; drinking & dancing; Dropkick Murphys

myspace.com/thetossers
This review is a user submitted review from CellarGhosts. You can see all of CellarGhosts's submitted reviews here.
 
Displaying posts 1 - 8 of 8
10:07 AM on 12/18/08
#2
Justin_stacy
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haha, two months and no tossers fans....Agony kind of did it in for me. I didn't think Valley matched the quality of their Thick years, but it wasn't bad minus the awful poem in the middle. Agony just seemed kind of bland and unrewarding, making it hard to want to check out another one by them.

Though I wouldn't mind hearing some new solo stuff from duggins', Unloved, was one of my favorite albums of '06.
05:15 PM on 12/18/08
#3
CellarGhosts
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haha, two months and no tossers fans....Agony kind of did it in for me. I didn't think Valley matched the quality of their Thick years, but it wasn't bad minus the awful poem in the middle. Agony just seemed kind of bland and unrewarding, making it hard to want to check out another one by them.

Though I wouldn't mind hearing some new solo stuff from duggins', Unloved, was one of my favorite albums of '06.
Haha I didn't expect this to fetch many views, if any. So thanks for being the one person interested

I'd have to disagree though, I really liked Agony, and still do, and I've got no qualms with "Drinking In the Day". I still need to check out Unloved sometime too.
11:10 PM on 12/18/08
#4
Justin_stacy
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Ya I feel like a jackass....I meant Undone his solo album, which while completely inconsistant, is pretty damn good and still something i 'pop' in every once in awhile.

As for "drinking in the day" the song itself is pretty good, but having to sit through that poem without the skip option is painfull and a killer for the album. For me I just think the Thick years were more fun. I love so-called 'celtic punk' but it has to be loud and fun and it seems like The Tosser have gotten further and further away from that priniciple with recent releases.
05:50 AM on 06/12/09
#5
Ophelia Payne
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For one The Tossers aren't traditional "Celtic Punk." They are, at least to me, much, much different then Dropkick Murphys or Flogging Molly. As mention in the article, they more closely resemble the Pogues ... although sober and cleaner. They are more Folk than Punk. So to judge them as "Celtic Punk" is not entirely a fair basis.

Okay, that said. My favorite Album by The Tossers will always be Communication and Conviction: Last Seven Years. In this album, though the songs are more "punk" sounding they are almost all traditional Irish Fold Songs or ballads as opposed to the get drunk and fight Irish songs of Dropkick Murphy.

They albums as of late have slowed down to greater reflect on the Celtic tradition than on producing fast-paced punk music. While On a Fine Spring Morning is not, by far my favorite album. Songs like Teehan, etc are traditional songs. You can't judge Folk to Punk.

In short, I absolutely adore The Tossers, they are fan based and I've seen them many times in smaller venues mingling in the crowd. While they grow they still stay appreciative of their roots. That is worth shuffling at a slower pace.
06:06 PM on 02/22/10
#6
Myldew
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Quote:
"A Fine Lass" is another stand out track, and could potentially be radio single material.

I am so glad to see a review, and another person for that matter, who believes that The Tossers have radio potential.

I personally think that this review focuses a bit too much on the negatives (Clay Hansen's absence), but like it says in the review, the positives do outweigh the negatives greatly.

Best album from The Tossers yet, in my opinion. Tony Duggins is simply brilliant.
06:11 PM on 02/22/10
#7
Myldew
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I didn't think Valley matched the quality of their Thick years, but it wasn't bad minus the awful poem in the middle.

I absolutely loved the track, poem and all. The way it transitions from "Clearing A Space" by Brenden Kennelly into the song "Drinking In The Day", is rather beautiful in my humble opinion.
12:46 AM on 05/30/12
#8
CaptainFirk
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I heard most of the songs I tend to agree STILL it's a great one A LOT of terrific tunes

and you're right man...Quite hard to top past CDs like Agony, Purgatory & TVOTSOD

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