Peace of Mind
(East Grand Record Co.)
It’s no secret that Hudson Falcons always called themselves a rock and roll band. They played for skinheads and punks, but they loved Bruce Springsteen. They had a great run for a punk band, being on the top labels like Outsider and GMM. But as the streepunk thing died or morphed or whatever; they ended. I had heard they had new line up and Mark Linskey (the singer/ guitarist/ writer would put out music or play acoustic shows). I lost track. I knew they had gone more rock and roll.
The last time I heard them was 2004’s LP, La Famiglia. A fifth album, Dancing Underneath the Moonlight, happened in 2011. This time, in 2015, Linskey and crew are back. Peace of mind is a more cohesive, focused album. Rock and roll is still the core of this band. They have added an organ. This sounds promising with an organ, but the opening track, “Live Right Now”, to me isn’t working class rock or a call back to Max RnB mod shit (a la Duffys Cut) or garage rock spasms (45 adapters) this sounds like “The Boys are Back in Town”. This is disappointing since I have no love for 70s rock.
However, the second track, “Don’t Waste the Burn”, is a cool organ drenched solemn tune that triggers some anger (towards the world, not the song) and nostalgia. “Soul Salvation” follows with a tip of the hat to old Rolling Stones, one of my favorites. So my apprehension is dissipating quickly.
I can eschew the need for hard edge punk or the aggression of a band who used to unsubtle t-shirts like “Working Class Mother Fucker” and the Ireland unity slogan of: “26 + 1 …Over My Dead Body”. Hudson Falcons always were received well in working class cities like Providence and Boston (where I always saw them). Bands like Roachenders, Dropkicks and Ducky Boys fit right in. They had a split on GMM with Blood for Blood. Their absolute pro-union stance lyrics played well to calloused-skinned fists and tired faces chanting along. They held back no punches and were forward with their politics. That palpable honesty, in a sea of young bands crying the working class life, was undeniable.
Going through Peace of Mind, there are a few slower songs that I might skip, but all are heartfelt and are all good down home rock and roll songs. These jersey heroes bring back many memories, especially linked up with split-mates, tour-mates, and friends, The GC5. But its fifteen years later and not every song will be a furious, raucous punk anthem. “We’ll Fight Back” is a boss song, brining a ska beat and championing a riotous chorus. The organ works well here in adding a layer of mood.
The thing about the first two HF albums was the speed, like sometimes the speed was more important than a crisp sound. Here we have a tighter band and medium paced songs with an organ. The Stones but tougher, the Springsteen meet MC5 love is apparent. Once I molted my OCD preconceptions and rigid nostalgia, I realized that it is not their fault I hadn’t kept up with the band. I look at their discogs page. They have steadily put out records. That is admirable for a band who ain’t making money from it.
That said, it is still a little slower and more open to other influences beyond SLF; but holy shit, this is good. “Scared” and “We Need a Union Now” pick up the pace in the middle and truly call back to the early Hudson Falcons’ sound. It is a good rock and roll album still wrought with defiance and rebellion. (Hutch)