The Downtown Struts: Victoria (Pirates Press Records)
CD/LP/DL
Available from 15 May 2012

Fancy some feel-good punk rock anthems? Of course you do. Check out this review of the freshly released debut album from Chicago’s The Downtown Struts.

The Downtown Struts have released one of the best albums of the year in their first full-length LP, the highly anticipated ‘Victoria!’.
 
The album takes you on a journey through the cities and highways of America, weaving stories of luck and love lost along the way. The characters so beautifully described in the young band’s lyrics give an update to the romantic notion of life in America, the land of opportunity where anyone can make it. Instead of white picket fences lining the streets, the reality is seeing gangs ‘pile off the bus again’. The strength in the lyrics is that there’s no judgment, this is just the way it is. As album closer ‘Southpaw’ asks us ‘If it all came easy, what kind of story would you know?”  
 
The band cite The Descendents, Tom Petty, The Clash and Bruce Springsteen as major influences. It’s easy to see where the passion and drive in the melodies of these artists have been translated by the band and coupled with the fury of youth to produce a superb collection of tracks.
 
The band are gaining a reputation as one of the most solid young bands touring, drawing on this for the standout ‘Lost in America’ which sees vocalists Dan and Ben sharing mic duties over a belting hook and thumping bass drum.   The first single ‘Anchors’ is probably the most representative track of the band on the album. The varying tempo and staccato drums, the strong riffs and pounding bass lines, and harmonious singalong chorus that will be in your head for weeks.
 
It’s hard to say that there’s any filler on this album as it hasn’t left my turntable for weeks, each track playing its part in the creation of an album which deserves to be huge.
 
The Downtown Struts are touring throughout Europe this summer including playing at Rebellion and Endless Summer festivals, make sure you don’t miss them live and make sure you get a copy of ‘Victoria!’ out now.
 

All words by Hannah McFaull.  More from Hannah here.
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Hannah McFaull grew up in East London wishing she was Joe Strummer. Her love of all things punk and Oi! sits alongside a genuine geekery for politics and activism. She was the youngest person to win the Weakest Link, although she's probably now been usurped. A staunch West Ham fan, tattoo and hair dye enthusiast, the five albums she never gets tired of: Give Em Enough Rope - The Clash, Shock Troops - Cock Sparrer, Pain In My Heart - Otis Redding, Shall We Dine? - The Grit, Streetcore - Joe Strummer and The Mescaleros Follow her on twitter @hannahmcfaull

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