A horrible hack

Down And Outs


Year Released: 2013
Format: LP
Label: Yo Yo - All in Vinyl
Reviewed by Bob Alderdice on May 14, 2014
The first time that I heard Down and Outs was about ten years ago in Manchester. They were playing at a place called ‘Satan’s Hollow’ – a demonic/metal theme bar with a giant statue of Beelzebub which looms over the bands as they play from the middle of a circular dance floor. It is not somewhere that I frequent very often, thankfully. To put it bluntly, it is a hell-hole (in both the literal and metaphorical sense of the word). So anyway, ten years ago, I saw and heard Down and Outs for the first time. They played some pretty catchy, anthemic street-punk - their lyrics inspired by council-estates and working class upbringings (oi oi), all spat out in a broad scouse accent (which you’d expect, I suppose. I mean, they’re from Liverpool so they should sound scouse. It probably wouldn’t be a Down and Outs review without some mention of the fact that they are British and actually sound British. Mind-blowing, I know). They were ace: I promptly went to them after the gig and bought every record that they had.

That was around the time of their first album, Boys from the Blackstuff. That got a lot of airtime in my house in 2004 but, for some reason, after that initial binge, I never got round to picking up any of their next releases. As a result, it was with a certain degree of nervous anticipation that I placed Lifeline onto my record player. My main concern was, I suppose: what if, after liking this band so much ten years ago, their new album turned out to be just a bit cack?

My fears were allayed massively when I saw the labels: All in Vinyl and Yo-Yo Records. Both of these have been responsible for some of my favourite releases in the last couple of years. Plus, although I’ve never met anyone from All in Vinyl, I do know that Jan at Yo-Yo is a super-cool dude, so anything that he puts out must be at least half-decent. To my delight, I soon realised that Down and Outs are as good as I remember them being.

Lifeline opens with a Waking Up, a typically catchy melodic number with some nicely contrasting dual vocals and some memorable hooks. The album maintains this strong vein throughout as the band showcase their song-writing prowess, belting out sing-a-long after sing-a-long. There’s plenty of top melodic punk to enjoy on side A, ‘Ricochet’ a particular stand out for me (sounding almost Jam-esque to my unsophisticated ears) and side B continues in equally good form with ‘News of the World’ and ‘Yesterday’s Heroes’ – two real highlights of the album.

I can, certainly see this getting plenty of spins in my house in the near future and I might just be tempted to pick up some of the Down and Outs records that are missing from my collection. Nice work, lads. Boss!

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