I had the privilege of witnessing a rite of passage. When The
Boils recruited guitarist Jeff Berman, he was a spindly
fresh-faced kid with an axe bigger than himself. It almost appeared
they picked him out of the audience, as he bid farewell to his parents,
who came to see him off and give their blessing over his marriage
to the road. Several years hence, Berman has the tour scars that lend
credibility to his impressive chops.
A Punk 101 textbook with 25 chapters covering Oi, street punk, hardcore
and dub, From The Bleachers is sure to draw unfair comparisons
to The Clash's masterwreck Sandinista! But unlike that
unlistenable mess, The Boils give a comprehensive and cohesive epic
from cover to cover. "Into The Enemy" stands as a stirring
centerpiece with overlapped chanting and reggae intro that turns violently
and deliciously wrong. On "Dominate" the boys seem to be
inciting the pit with the playground egging, "Fight, fight, fight/
make it physical/ when they get the best of you/ put them in the hospital."
The pleasant use of Hammond B3 on "Skinhead Reggae Beach Stomp"
(your mic's too hot) and the Templars-influenced "The
Arson Song" as well as the cowpunk "Summer's Brightest Day"
are nice touches. But the real surprise is the sensitive but gruff
love song "All I Ever Need," as Greg Boil croaks,
"I wanna wake up by your side for the rest of my life/ back home/
in your warm embrace."
The Boils have risen from a throwaway act to create an important
punk milestone. The seamless flow and suitable sloppiness make a
journey perfect for us fallible humans. And the questionable logic
makes them even more real. The Boils miss the irony that the local
pride of "Philly Shreds" and "Blood On The Fields"
is exactly the mindset that leads to the National policies they
rail against on "In The Scope Of The Hunter" and "Valley
Of Death." Hurray for our team? No, thanks. But hurray for
1. The Iron Eagle And The Liberty Bell
2. Blood On The Fields
4. A Far Cry From Extinction
6. Into The Enemy
7. The Promise
8. Blue Route Blues
10. Crossover Rules
11. Bed Of Whiskey
12. The Arson Song
13. The Cogs Will Turn
14. Anarchy In Action
15. El Lagarto
16. Slit Your Throat
17. All I Ever Need
18. Summer's Brightest Day
19. Declaration Of War
20. The Vatican
21. Valley Of Death
22. In The Scope Of The Hunter
23. Teach Arrives
24. Skinhead Reggae Beach Stomp
25. Philly Shreds
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