Filthy Thieving Bastards,
A Melody of
Retreads & Broken Quills

(BYO, 2001)

These guys are punk rockers? I wouldn't have ever bought that one! But a trip to the BYO Records webpage confirms it. Not that it changes my opinion of the band at all; the music is incredibly well done. But my original impression was to compare them to Great Big Sea!!

It took one run through the CD to decide these guys are amazingly talented musicians. The play list is so diverse it's hard to even choose a category to place them in -- which I'm thinking would suit them fine. "Between the Lines" and "An Otherwise Sunny Day" would be great dancehall numbers. "Grave Me" is more an oldstyle rock 'n' roll tune. But it's "Aberfan" that serves as the best clue. The poem, written by Albert Gideon Simons in 1966, is a tribute to the children of Aberfan, South Wales, who were buried inside their school by a mudslide. That it is put to music and included on this album is a tribute to the gift of writing. And, even if they weren't so talented musically, they would still be incredibly talented writers.

"Pen to pad is an offering to the Gods of the abstract plane, to the moral and the virtuous from this right and crippled being." Many of the lyrics speak of living fast and hard and the price of such a life. They also address the acknowledgement of their talents and the desire to use such talents well.

Filthy Thieving Bastards are Johnny Bonnel (vocals), Darius Koski (guitars, vocals, accordion, violin, piano, organ, percussion), Greg Lisher (guitars, lead guitar), Spike Slawson (bass) and Randy Burk (drums). They are joined on this CD by Max Butler (mandolin, pedal steel) and Lloyd Tripp (upright bass).

[ by Sheree Morrow ]
Rambles: 28 April 2002