Flatfoot 56: Black Thorn

Flatfoot 56: Black Thorn
Following in a great tradition of Oi! and Celtic punk bands, Flatfoot 56 has built a loyal following in their native Chicago. The band releases their fourth studio, Black Thorn.
When I hear Celtic punk, I rightfully think of Flogging Molly and Dropkick Murphys. Flatfoot 56 does not really sound like either group. Their use of traditional Celtic instruments like bagpipes and mandolins is what gets them that label but their songs do not engage in what I would consider Celtic melodies. The band’s sound is much more in tune with folk-inspired oi! bands like Swingin’ Utters and US Bombs.
“The Hourglass” has a guitar line that’s remarkably similar to The Offspring‘ snaky guitar riff in “Come Out and Play”. “We Grow Stronger” has a driving hardcore punk sound that reminds me of Pennywise. The album’s closing track “Hothead” sounds like Canadian punk legends, SNFU.
But while those are the band’s heavier punk songs, Black Thorn features a fair amount of acoustic songs. “Shiny Eyes” features acoustic guitar, accordion, and mandolin. It’s perhaps the most mellow song on the album but rather than sounding like Dropkick Murphys’ “Forever”, the song is more reminiscent of Social Distortion. The contrast between the harder songs and the acoustic tracks just add to the band’s dynamic sound.
Overall, I really have not heard a better punk album in a long while. It reminds me of my high school days when Dropkick Murphys’ Do or Die and Swingin’ Utters’ Five Lessons Learned ruled my discman. Although,the music will not appeal to everyone, if you like any of the band’s I mentioned in this article, I would urge you to check out Black Thorn.
Rating: 8.9/10
MP3: Flatfoot 56 “Hothead”
Buy: iTunes