“DD Review: Downtown Boys – Cost of Living.”

Score: 9.5/10


In a way, classifying a group of musicians as a “punk band” seems contradictory in the first place. [1] After all, nothing is less “punk” than classification, prefabricated mold, of any kind, and of course, nothing is less artistic than classification, a cellular wall of definition only fit to confine.
DOWNTOWN BOYS… are fu**ing punk… in style, and in spirit. You’ll know about a minute into it, too. The first song, “A Wall,” which at four minutes and change surely seems a tad long for the moshing type, finds the lead singer yelling with what’s somehow this epochally perfect yammer, as if she’s really (sorry) representing the voice of a generation. Hey, she’s as pi**ed about it as any, cliche included. She’s just yelling. Then, her buddy comes in periodically and just yells “Fu** it!” Now we’re partying!
Da**, you know who this band REALLY reminds me of? This is crazy: but it’s those dudes in High Fidelity who John Cusack ends up managing and who respond to the main character’s compliment by simply barking “I know. I wrote it.” (Victoria Ruiz’ voice is sort of low and throaty for a girl’s.) It’s been a while since I saw that flick, but my memory of it is just that hearty, blue collar peal that was like way too little of a Stooges ripoff, by all rights — loud drums and cheap tight Fenders in tow too.
“Somos Chulas (No Somos Pendejas)” is sung entirely in Spanish and continues with the raucous, full-speed-ahead rubric set forth from the start here. With something with this much sneer, really, it’s sort of pointless to even attempt a comparison, but this would be the part of the review where I’d usually do just that, and the only thing I can think of would be that though not melodically singing, they have sort of the ABANDON of the last Oxford Collapse record, the one that appropriately enough started with a sound bite of a car taking off.
“Promissory Note” comes in grooving a little more plotted, hedging out a cool surf-rock sound with jangly bass, Mars guitar and soap box drums. For a while I thought it was going to be an instrumental so I was a little lacquered when the voice came it — give the band credit though for reining in the energy of the intro and initiating some pauses of action, which just see some idle palm muting, so as to coordinate with Victoria Ruiz’ ever-combustive yowl. “It Can’t Wait” is beautifully rude (“It attracts you / And terrifies me / Get out of my city / Don’t you have somewhere to be?”) As with everywhere else on this album, the band play with stupefying tightness. Overall, what Cost of Living reminds us of is that sometimes the itch we most need scratched is the last one we probably thought we wanted.
[1] Nonetheless, thus spake Wikipedia.

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