Monday, July 21, 2008

CD Review: Towers of London - Blood Sweat & Towers

Release date: June 5, 2006

Rating: 6/10

Now here’s a refreshing band that’s resurrecting a brand of punk rock that has lain dormant for decades. Sure, the British snarl is reminiscent of Johnny Rotten or even Joe Strummer, the guitar solos are rife with Slash influence, and the general song structures owe a considerable debt to the New York Dolls, but that does nothing to detract from the catchy hooks and the sing-along melodies produced by the Towers of London. This is neither the beginning nor the end of the comparisons to the punk-rock pioneers whom the Towers of London are so obviously and unabashedly indebted to; one look at the cover of Blood Sweat & Towers and you’ll instantly recognize The Clash, the New York Dolls, and The Ramones. Come to think of it, the Towers of London might be what Malcolm McLaren had in mind when he stole incomplete songs from the Dolls and gave them to the Sex Pistols.

So, if there is so little that is original about the Towers of London, what makes the band so special? That’s not so difficult a question to answer. These Londoners provide a fresh flavor in a musical cesspool that has increasingly been neglected and left to fester in its own excrement. Granted, this “fresh” sound is about 30 years old and it sounds like polished chrome, but it’s still a swift kick to the balls and a great diversion to rock’s top 40.

So, while Blood Sweat & Towers was released in 2006 and the “Beaujolais” track sounds an awful lot like “New Rose” by The Damned (in fact, it wouldn’t be a lie to say that the members of the Towers of London extracted their favorite parts of their favorite songs by their favorite bands and reassembled them for the album), it’s still a worthwhile purchase for any music fan interested in something “new.” Truth be told, Blood Sweat & Towers is about five songs too long; if the Towers of London had cut those five songs, they would have left us with a much more solid and aggressive punk rock treasure.

The Towers of London have been making noise in the UK since the release of Blood Sweat & Towers, opening for such acts as Guns n’ Roses and the New York Dolls, and I only hope that the schmuck Emo kids in the U.S. wake up and see what punk rock, or at least a modern incarnation of it, really is. And whether or not punk rock is in the bones and the hearts of the Towers of London, what they are most guilty of is trying too hard.

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