The Tosspints – Have You Been Drinking? Review

tosspintsAs much as one can try to keep their ears open to all the existing bands, there will be bands that fall through the cracks. The Tosspints, a three-piece band from Saginaw, MI is one of those for me. I wish I had heard of these guys sooner! I have been previewing their upcoming release Have You Been Drinking which is set to be released on June 4th and it has really blown me away! This will be their third studio album and I am hoping they will find a venue in St Louis to play on the upcoming tour so I can pick up all their CD’s. The 12 track album highlights different styles and influences of playing and some great vocals that range from melodic to gruff and the music is tight and fast. Most of the songs have a dark tint often hidden by the fast and up tempo pacing of the music.

The album starts with the darkly disturbing “Genocide is Painless” about a soldier struggling with the classical warrior virtues of honor with the harsh face of genocidal war, killing men and children, raping the woman and taking the valuables. The music is fantastic and vocals are tight.  “Soldiers Heart” is one of the top tracks for me. The varying tempos range from highlighting the vocals to hard-driving instrumentals. “Our Last Breath” is another favorite track of mine. As I have been primarily listening at work, it took several run throughs of the album to get how dark and haunting this song is. It is heartbreaking and beautiful, carried primarily by the vocals deliver this chilling ballad. “Shoot at All the Cops” gets you moving with a foot stomping rhythm and gruff vocals. “My Own Country” is another great melodic piece, with what feels like an Eastern European/gypsy folk feel to it. “Train Robber Song” starts with a great feel of a train building steam into this song of an ex-railroad worker that changes the course of their life by becoming a train robber with the inevitable end to someone living the life of crime. “Johnny I Hardly Knew Ye” and “Come Out Ye Black and Tans” are some hard rocking covers, though I really preferred the songs The Tosspints pinned, so comparatively speaking, they were ok covers and blend together from “Johnny” to “Black and Tans”. “Message in a Bottle” is about a castaway who pins their hopes on rescue by sending a message in bottle. Another footstomper with some great sounding music. “Eleanor” is a poignant song with great vocals, reminiscent of Chuck Ragan and is my top track on the album. The evocative emotions delivered by the vocals and backed by the music really delivers! “Your Name” reminds me of Cutthroat Shamrock with the pacing and bluegrass influences. Even though it harkens to Cutthroat Shamrock, it is clearly not a case of copying another band. “Blood and Whiskey” gives me chills listening to the lyrics. The chorus is rousing and sticks with you.

The Tosspints have a winner on their hands. The more I listen to Have You Been Drinking, the more I am enjoying it and finding little nuggets I did not hear before. Come June 4th, I recommend you track this album down by either getting it from the band directly or through iTunes and Amazon. The range of styles and tempo make for a great and interesting listen. Overall, it is hauntingly and chilling beautiful work! Now I just need to track down their previous releases!

Track Listing:

  1. Genocide is Painless
  2. Soldiers Heart
  3. Our Last Breath
  4. Shoot at All the Cops
  5. My Own Country
  6. Train Robber Song
  7. Johnny I Hardly Knew Ye
  8. Come Out Ye Black and Tans
  9. Message in a Bottle
  10. Eleanor
  11. Your Name
  12. Blood and Whiskey

Slainte!

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