If 2009’s ‘Pin Points and Gin Joints’ was The Mighty Mighty Bosstones roaring back to life and recapturing their old magic, 2011’s ‘The Magic of Youth’ is them tightening their collective grip on what makes them great. After being at this for more than 25 years , you would think they would know what they are doing. You would be right.
Opening salvo ‘The Daylights’ makes effective use of a simple guitar riff that, nevertheless, results in one of the heaviest songs they have come up with in years. First single, ‘Like A Shotgun’ makes great use of the horn section, especially for the chorus, which will stick in your head like duct tape covered in peanut butter, honey, and super glue. In fact, the horns get a generous share of the spotlight throughout the entire album, helping to keep the energy consistently high and engaging. Maybe things are a little front-loaded with these punkier numbers, but all the better to get you in the mood for what’s to come.
If there is a minor criticism to be made, it could be that some of the lyrical content on a few songs leans toward the overly sentimental, spinning yarns of times/figures of a bygone era. That can be a good thing for the listener, especially to those who can relate, but it might leave some people out in the cold. That’s been a defining characteristic of frontman Dicky Barrett, especially as he has gotten older. Even these songs (here’s looking at you ‘The Ballad of Candlepin Paul,’ ‘Sunday Afternoons On Wisdom Ave,’ and ‘The Package Store Petition’) are upbeat and highly listenable.
At a trim 11 tracks clocking in at a little over 35 minutes, the album should give the venerable band some fresh material for the live show that stands alongside some of their very best songs. By being short and to the point, there isn’t any room for filler. You’re left wanting more with your only recourse being to start the album over again or to revisit their back catalog.
It’s not going to win them any new converts, but it will please most of their long-time fans.
The Bosstones don’t reinvent the wheel, they just give it 22 inch rims.
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J.J. Ellis – When J.J. Ellis isn’t writing as the Allentown DVD Examiner, his Decent Exposure Radio can be heard on the air every Friday night from 10:30 to midnight (EST) on WXLV 90.3 FM or wxlvradio.com!