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July 14, 2024

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Down by Law
All Scratched Up! (Epitaph Records)

By: Alex Steininger

Continuing with Epitaph's fine tradition of bringing us some of the hottest punk bands on the planet comes Down By Law! Melodic, fast paced punk at it's best. It doesn't get much sweeter than this.

Track one, "Independence Day," starts off this CD full of seventeen melodic punk tracks. It starts off with guitar, and then the rest of the bands enters. And so does the vocals. Now the melodic foundation has been set. Track two, "Cheap Thrill," starts it off with some thick guitar and then the band kicks everything into gear. Mix in some classic rock and roll guitar riffs here in there with their punk guitar, and you get some nice hooks which will get you from the beginning. Half way through the song it cuts into a heavy bass style, which drives me crazy. I love it! As the vocals sing over the heavy bass, you can't help but feel part of the song. It's so provocative, and addictive. Bass solo's with the vocals covering them are classic. Track five, "True Beltevers," starts off with a scream, and then the guitars jump into full speed. The drums pound away, and the bass keeps everything as tight as possible. The vocals contribute to the melody in the song. The vocals seem to be the strongest thing in the mix, over powering each instrument. At some times it can be quite awkward, but at others in calms down and sounds very nice. Track eight, "Radio Ragga," is the best track on the CD. It starts out with a very soothing reggae beat, and then the vocals enter and warm your soul. Then it kicks it's own ass and jumps into full swing. But soon the action packed progression of the song calms down and you go back to the addictive reggae feel. The song loses itself when it goes punk, but when it's reggae you can't help but fall in love with this song! "Superman," kicks it off with drums, and then the melodic guitar and the hammering bass jump in head first! A very melodic punk tune. The vocals play well with the band, and add so much melody. "Ivory Girl," is my second favorite selection on the album. The biggest selling point on this song aren't the juicy hooks, or the fast paced, energetic power of the song. No, those add a lot, but the main selling point of the song are the lyrics. Each song contains very powerful lyrics, but this song is especially powerful. It's a song about how they don't want a supermodel, they just want their "ivory girl." The CD closes out with "Punks and Drunks." A fast paced song that is a very nice end to the CD. Guitar solos, enery, this song has it all. Not only does that song have it all, but this CD has it all. And don't forget the famous hidden track. This CD has one of those two. But you'll have to buy the CD to hear it.

Down By Law brings us another great record! Sure to be a classic in twenty years. These guys know what they are doing. And better yet, they are great at it. This CD deserves an A.

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