Album Review: Chorus of the Commoners, by The Queen City Saints

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qcs-coverThe “three chords, two minutes, no bullshit” approach to punk rock may live forever, but it died a long time ago for The Queen City Saints. Like others in the punk genre such as Black Flag (metal), Social Distortion (rockabilly and ’50s rock) and Green Day (pop… there, we said it), QCS incorporates other styles to broaden its palette. Their ingredient of choice is Americana and folk, and they wield it well on songs such as “Swing the Hammer”and “Same Tired Words.” Harmonica in a punk song? Indeed it is. “Oh, The Con of the Century” swings the musical pendulum completely to the bluegrass side, banjo and all, without ever feeling less punk for it.

What QCS has also cultivated, if more on the sly, is an Against Me!-esque love for shout-along choruses, which make Chorus of the Commoners the rallying point its lyrics intend it to be.

If you can believe it, QCS actually take the teen angst at the heart of punk music and reapply it to blue-collar living–jobs lost, 401 Ks slipping away and nerves made of the same steel that built the railways Dalena (the band isn’t big on divulging full names) sings about. It’s enough to make the listener shout the choruses, too, though Dalena keeps it more in check, sacrificing a modicum of piss and vinegar for the sake of carrying a tune better. The band picks up most of the shouting for her instead, forming an impenetrable wall of “hell no” with lines such as “no weapon formed against us shall prosper here and now.” Try shouting that at your next board meeting.

Made in a home studio on a slim budget, packaged with militaristic fonts (try reading the album cover and not thinking of The A-Team) and a painting of the Commercial Street footbridge on the cover, Chorus of the Commoners not only preaches a don’t-let-the-system-win mantra, it embodies it. It makes sense; it would be hard to shout all those choruses without conviction, too.

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One Response to “Album Review: Chorus of the Commoners, by The Queen City Saints”

  1. The Show Report, 1/23: Homegrown Returns! « Says:

    […] The Queen City Saints finally release their CD, Chorus of the Commoners, next Tuesday. The party to celebrate that release, though, is tonight, with a fantastic lineup of […]

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