All A Man Can Do

Written by: MN on 10/12/2013 14:53:10

Being a massive fan of Boston-based Celtic punks Dropkick Murphys, I jumped at the opportunity to review ex-member of Dropkick, Rick Bartons new project “Continental”. A man who demands respect within the Boston punk scene, the old crooner’s new adventure is a family affair. He joins forces with his nineteen year old son Stephen to create a sound that finds its roots in the raucous street punk of Boston, MA, but has a folksy/60s songwriter edge to the concoction.

Upon opening the physical disc album sent to me (Ah the grand feeling of opening something physical, rather than clicking a link), I felt a surge of nostalgia to the time when I opened my first Green Day record that I had gotten as a gift. So, with virtually no pre-introduction to Continental, I put the disc on the sound system, grabbed a glass of bourbon and settled in the comforts of my couch. As the last track of fifteen ringed out, second round of bourbon empty, the conclusion was rather simple; Continental is pleasantly honest and unpretentious; the songs are short, the messages clear, and lastly the storytelling comes from a man with experience, who delivers his stories with a pleasant huskiness in his vocals. If you are a fan of melodic punk with influences ranging from Social Distortion to the likes of Bob Dylan then this should make its way to your ear channels.

Songs like opener “Curious Spell” and “Into View” are melodious and folksy in ways that clearly are reminiscent of Dropkick at times, especially in the vocal delivery. “Shine” has Social Distortion written all over it, but this is definitely not a bad thing; this is a real feel good song that suits Rick Barton.

“Downtown Lounge” is more classically Ramones-esque in execution. “Hey Baby” is a much larger song than the rest of the bunch as the tempo is slowed and the vocals are allowed to be extended, a swaying love song, bound for good singalongs. “Let Me Know” follows a similar tonality and extends the clear focus on lyrics that Continental strives for. “Dogfight” is a pure rocknroll track, a clear tribute to the working class. It is apparent that Rick Barton hasn’t left his ideals behind on this record. “Wrecking Ball” is another storyteller anchored by a smooth full bodied acoustic tone. One of my personal favourites is “One Long Hard Broken Dream” which is a powerfully driven punk track that allows Rick Barton to unfold his raspy vocals in a relentless and confident manner. I truly wish the album contained some more of this type of song.

It’s been a while since I heard a selection of fifteen punk songs on a record that only rarely seemed repetitive or generic. I could easily have swiped a couple of songs though, but the overall listen was an enjoyable one. It’s clear that this project is something special for Rick as his vocals and lyrics are convincing. Continental is something worth continuing in many respects.


Download: Curious Spell, One Long Hard Broken Dream, Dogfight
For The Fans Of: Bad Religion, Dropkick Murphys, Social Distortion
Listen: facebook

Release Date 04.10.2013
Flix Records

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