Friday, January 17, 2014

Review of "Truth, Love, and Liberty" by FM359 (Featuring members of the Street Dogs and Continental)

This week, FM359 released their full length debut album entitled, "Truth, Love, and Liberty" on Pirates Press Records.  If you have listened to it, you do know by now that this record isn't what some may have expected- perhaps a lighter version of a punk rock record.  This record is an explosion of americana, country, a little bit of punk rock and even gospel, which resembles influences and comparisons across the board from the Pogues, Woody Guthrie, Billy Bragg, and many more.  The band features some counterparts that most of you should be familiar with including Mike McColgan, Johnny Rioux, and Pete Sosa from the Street Dogs, Rick Barton from Continental, and Hugh Morrison from Murder The Stout (as seen with the Street Dogs).  Playing along side these music veterans, the band offers Halston Luna and David Schafer.

As an avid listener of this record, the band's lyrics display a less outward look on life but an introspective look at life of the everyman so to speak.  The full length starts off with a fast and rousing number called "Some Folks" which is easily identifiable to the regular every day person when lines come into play such as, "Some folks think you got nothing, but if they take a closer look they see you got it going on" and my personal favorite, "Some folks will always judge you, and the only way you'll never win is when you wave them goodbye!" The verse is followed by a reassuring chorus, "No man is a better man than you, don't be fooled by the price tag on his suit, it don't matter if his collars white or blue.  He's been up and down, just like you!" which gives the everyday human being who struggles a sense of self, and that they are worth something.  Track two, "I'll Be On My Way" (written by Hugh Morrison) is one of my personal favorites with the catchy musicianship behind it and the sing along chorus, its easy for anybody to latch on to.  The writer makes the listener think about where will he or she may be tomorrow as nobody really knows what could happen.  It leaves you guessing.

Many of these tracks start with a slower pace but catch up in speed in the music and "A Little Sign" is a perfect example of that.  At McGreevys this past Wednesday for the album release party, the band had the crowd singing back the chorus and bridge back to them.  Toward the middle of the record, the band hammers out the socially conscious "When the People Check Out" which encourages the American people to tune in on what is really going on and look beyond the distorted mess that we call news media and politics.  Out all the tracks, the track I feel they really branched out on musically was "Forbidden Love" which gives off a Bruce Springsteen vibe/influence with the style of song writing portrayed.  Rick Barton shares vocals on this number which is perfect for him because his voice captures the essence of the song and fits it really well, too!

The song, "I Saw The Light" I feel gives a glimpse of what goes on in the lives of the song writers of this record.  The first verse sang by Johnny Rioux really stands out with "I traveled far from sea to sea, to see if I could find my heart of gold.  And when I found the one that I loved, I fucked it up and now I'm all alone".  Before I continue, I really want to point up Johnny Rioux's talent on this album with his vocal arrangements throughout this piece as well as his "Cowboi!" record.  It is excellent for him to branch out like he has!  Rick Barton tells his tale in the second verse with "…I got a loyal little dog, and a pocket full of bones. I've tried the ordinary way but it never worked for me".   In the third verse, McColgan drives it home with "Well I know its hard for a man to when he's mistaken, we've all been taught in our lives we got to make it" which in a way sums up the song.  In my perspective, I feel that this song is about redemption and seeing the "light" (pun intended) through a dark situation.  There is always a light at the end of the tunnel!

Another one of my favorites is "Bring It On" which is an uprising and uplifting song which can be applicable to anybody facing a challenge in life.  In my eyes, this song talks about the struggles of being in a touring band, how hard you work, and the doubt you are faced with by other people.  The opening verse/line is straight to the point with "Go ahead I dare you, come and walk this path, Where the dreamers all crumble, giving skeptics time to laugh" leaving the topic or situation endless for the listener to decide.  The track, "It Stays With Me" is an introspective look in Mike McColgan's life growing up in Savin Hill a neighborhood in Dorchester, MA. and attending Catholic school as a young kid.  The opening line, "Remember cold Tuttle Street days, just to run down Grampian Way. Dreamers sprung loose by Catholic cages, come take a walk with me, I'll read my pages" as well as "Be set by their rule, be set by their God, We lived in fear of Jesus, Didn't want to get it wrong.  Had to run away, sing away, find a way out. Kept it quiet for a long time, it will stay with me all of my life."  The entire verse gives a glimpse with the environment McColgan grew up in through the eyes of a young person and speaks for many of those who grew up in the environment as he did.

The last and final track, "Sons of Liberty No. 1" (written by Hugh Morrison) is an upbeat sing along song.  It has been exclaimed as a fan favorite by those who have the record.  The jingle also isn't a bad way to end the record either, on a high note!  If you listen to it, its almost an old battle cry for unity and and easily is the most fitting way for them to end their set live as well as to close their album.  Overall, this record is amazing, well versed, and top notch.  The music diversity, and effort these FM359 displayed is unreal.  I am really happy that this project is different from the other punk and rock outfits they belong to because Mike and Johnny particularly, really improved going outside of their comfort zone!  Keep up the good fight, gentlemen!

Band Info:
FM359 Facebook
Pirates Press Records Facebook
Pirates Press Records Offical Website - Buy the record here!


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