Dan – Vocals/Guitar
Zach – Drums
Ryan – Bass/Vocals
Ben – Guitar/Vocals
By Shannah Tighe
DOWNTOWN STRUTS formed in 2008 in Chicago with two members hailing from Northern California and two from the Midwest. Setting out to create honest music stemming from punk and Americana influences, the songs are passionate and melodic at heart but delivered with drive and aggression. Influence from THE CLASH, BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN, and THE REPLACEMENTS is evident in their carefully constructed songwriting and powerful live show.
3. Back to N.Y.
5. Mexican Graffiti
6. Lost In America
7. Rocca Ave
Prior to listening to this album, I had never heard of this band but I’m definitely open to new music and I love finding great new bands! I’m usually into metal and it’s sub-genres but I do enjoy a little punk/rock every now and then! For fans of Polar Bear Club,
To kick this album off, you have their first song, Prologue. It has such a good summer vibe to it. The intro to this one is very catchy and I must have listened to it three times already and I’ve only had my hands on this album for an hour. It’s half instrumental but has a little bit of awesome semi-raspy vocals and a bit of harmony in it. It kind of ends abruptly right as you get into it but it’s definitely not bad.
Next up on this album is the song Postcards. I’m in love with the vocals in the beginning right before they build up to the first verse. They weren’t pitchy and they make singing that well seem effortless. In my opinion, that’s talent. This is another feel good vibe kind of song! It’s not too short and it’s not too long with great lyrics. This song is probably my favorite off of the album after listening a couple of times. Between the clapping in select parts and the catchy guitar melody, this song just overall makes me happy. That’s what I like music to do! Looking at the song titles and listening to just these first two songs, I feel like this is a perfect album for a road-trip.
In Back to N.Y., this was where I really started to notice the duel vocalists when they sing back and forth in the beginning. I really think their voices compliment each other well. They both have the same amount of raspyness when they sing, making it sounds awesome as they harmonize but they can kind of sound the same at times. Although, it makes the song flow better without sounding choppy. This is another really catchy tune and it’s easy to sing along to. (As you read on in the review, you’ll notice that this isn’t uncommon!).
The next song, Tim, it starts out with just guitars and vocals; which is one of my favorite kinds of intro’s. They build you up to the rest of the song. This is another one that you can really hear the duel vocals going back and forth with each other. I also really like these lyrics. They seem well put together just like every other aspect of the album rather than having awesome lyrics and shitty music & vice-versa. This band knows how to do it all and well. This is another catchy song thanks to both vocalists going back and forth with “it’s alright.” So good!
Mexican Graffiti starts out sounding a little bit different and has all of the instruments building up. Once again, this song has great lyrics and a really good vibe. I may say this about most of the songs on this album and you may automatically assume that all of their songs sound the same, but you’re wrong! It abruptly ends but I feel like it gets its point across short and sweet making the audience crave more!
Lost In America starts out with two great guitar melodies and the second vocalist starting out first this time, which is a nice mix-up. It’s yet another catchy song! I like how they split up the vocals in this song. This is probably my second favorite off of this album! This is very catchy and I once again enjoy the lyrics because they don’t seem thrown together! The length of the song and how much they repeat, “it’s okay” is a perfect blend. We all hate those songs that just keep repeating the same lines for over 4 and a-half minutes straight but these dudes really know exactly how to mix it in their songs so you don’t get annoyed!
Rocca Ave is the longest song on the album at a whopping 4:16 long. I don’t mean that in a bad way, either! This song makes me think a little southern with the hint of keyboard in the background, which mixes it up a little bit. For some reason, this song makes me think of a house with a white picket fence between the keyboard and his lyrics. I really do love when songs can tell a bit of a story through their lyrics. Great guitar solo as well, almost country/southern sounding again. There’s another vocalist towards the end without as raspy of a voice but he sounds great and the tone in his voice flows perfect with everything else. Harmonies are great toward the end!
I love the bass lines in the intro of this next song, Anchors. It’s only for a few seconds but I can hear it and dig it. All of the instruments start out in this one leading you into some more catchy singing. I like how it calms down a little bit then picks back up with some strong vocals and a little guitar solo before leading into the next verse. I really enjoy their harmonies and singing of the “whooos” overlapping with at the end. I also like how it’s the only time they do it. Kind of makes you want to listen to it again just for that part! It’s a little on the short side, that’s my only complaint.
Second to last on this album is Rogues. Drums open this song to some catchy guitar melodies, which drew me in automatically. I enjoy how they calm it down a little bit during the verses in this one then lead you into a foot tapping chorus. Not too crazy and in your face with this one during the chorus. I think the hint of up beat piano right before the last minute was a great touch.
Last but not least, you have Southpaw. This one had me drumming on the keypad of my laptop during the intro. It also reminds me a little more of Polar Bear Club than the rest did. I will say that this song is one of the more ‘chill’ songs on this album but none of them are slow by any means, it’s just a calmer song than the rest. It’s a great song to close the album. But it ends leaving you wanting more!
In conclusion, I really can’t say anything bad about this album at all. As I’ve mentioned a couple of times, it’s a really upbeat record that’s almost sounds like a soundtrack for the summer. It was released at a perfect time, too! All of the songs were consistent without sounding exactly the same, which made the record flow nicely. I highly recommend, Victoria! by Downtown Struts! 5/5 in my book.
UPCOMING U.S. TOUR DATES
June 7th Walnut Creek, CA @Vice Ultra Lounge (w/ Face To Face)
June 8th San Francisco, CA @ Slim’s (w/Face To Face)
June 9th San Luis Obispo, CA @ SLO Brewing Company (w/ Face To Face)