Generally, there is a distinct sound difference between Boston street punk (i.e. the Dropkick Murphys, Street Dogs, Ducky Boys, etc.) and the typical So Cal sound (which is varied but currently includes elements of Rancid, NOFX and Green Day). The two are very distinctive sounds and don't seem like they'd play nicely together in the confines of musical composition.
Leave it to the Briggs to mix that one up Come All You Madmen.
Hailing from Los Angeles, the Briggs play a brand of blue-collar street punk that owes as much of its sound to Boston as it does to L.A., and bears influences of bands from both coasts as well. At times they reflect shades of Rancid or the Distillers, and at times there are elements of The Ducky Boys or Street Dogs. But whichever sound they seem to be emulating, they almost always do it in an infectious way.
The album opens up on top with "Mad Men," a folksy sing-along that is part Celtic, part pirate and all fun - think "Boys on the Docks" with less nostalgia and more rum (Listen/Download). Such a strong opening is nearly impossible to top, but the Briggs never stop trying.
The second track, "This is L.A.," comes across like a working-class take on the Distillers' "City of Angels," and it's a great take; a fist-pumping anthem to the band's hometown that will even make those who've never been to the city feel nostalgic (Listen/Download).
Over and over, the band delivers upbeat street-flavored blasts. "Bloody Minds" is another great tune that carries a predominately East Coast sound. Then again, a handful of other tunes like "Ship of Fools," "The Ship is Now Sinking" and "Until Someone Gets Hurt," the band's West Coast influences are more predominant - yet without ever fully escaping the sound of the streets.
The East Coast sound is also heavily complemented by the twin vocals of brothers Jason and Joey LaRocca, who deliver their lyrics with a gruff rasp that conjure up more images of Boston's blue-collar neighborhoods that they do Southern California's beaches.
Over and over, the band delivers powerful crowd pleasers, and the album is predominantly fun. If Come All You Madmen suffers from anything, it's possibly due to a song order that could have been changed up a bit. The album closes with "Final Words" and "Molly," two more melodic and somber tunes; they are powerful tunes with the elements of a somber pub tune, but leave the listener with a bit of a bittersweet taste in their mouth, and I think they may have been more effective floated in the middle of the record, with a fist-pumping tune carrying the record home.
Come All You Madmen (Listen/Download)
Release date: June 17, 2008