Predating more popular acts like The Dropkick Murphys, The Tossers from Chicago are probably among the first American Irish/Celtic punk rock bands. Having lived on the green island myself for sometime – albeit in The North rather than in The Republic – I have developed a casual interest in Celtic music, in particular enjoying Celtic folk rock and other types of Celtic fusion.
I am a bit ambivalent about The Tossers' The Emerald City, I must admit, in a number of departments. On the one hand, they certainly capture the spirit of Irish folk music, displaying instrumental chops that indeed rival many born and bred native Irish folk musicians, and I enjoy the instrumental sections in particular. There is a lot of energy on the album, to be sure, and in particular in the upbeat tracks – many of which are bound to serve as part of the soundtrack of numerous binge drinking parties in the future. On the other hand, there is a limit to how entertaining songs about whisky and beer can be in the long run. Moreover, while described as Celtic punk rock, there really is not that much punk rock on this album – it is more like Irish jigs accompanied by polka drums performed on a rock drumkit (cleverly, 'Where the Beer and Whiskey Flow' even sounds like ska at some point). And, well, the acquired Irish accent in which the vocals are sung does not sit well with me – especially since many of the songs deal with life in Chicago. I mean, wouldn't an American accent be more authentic? Is the Irish accent necessary? I don't know.
So, the album as such is entertaining, but falls a bit flat in the long run. That being said, there are a lot of highlights on the album, and tracks like 'USA', 'God Bless You', and 'The Femoy Lasses and Sporting Paddy', which are pretty damn good, and 'Sláinte' also features some quite nice instrumental passages.
Personally, I do find myself attracted more to other Celtic/Irish folk-rock releases and other releases within the world of Celtic fusion than this particular record. However, perfect party music, The Tossers' The Emerald City is bound to spread mirth in any gathering of people, and fans of American Celtic/Irish folk-rock should definitely check it out.
1. The Rover
2. Here's To A Drink With You
3. Emerald City
4. Wherever You Go
6. St. Patrick's Day
7. Bombo Lane
8. The Break Of Dawn
9. The South Side Of Town
10. Where The Beer And Whiskey Flow
11. God Bless You
12. Johnny McGuires' Wake
13. The Fermoy Lasses And Sporting Paddy