Kicking Ass for the Working Class – City Saints
City Saints are celebrating the ten year anniversary of their debut album Kicking Ass for the Working Class with a remastered re-release. I didn’t pick this one up when it was first released so it’s nice to hear a remastered version.
Listening to this it’s clear that City Saints has stayed on the same punk’n’roll path these ten years. On the Swedish part of the band’s double-album from last year you could hear another side of the band, but the songs in English follow the same formula as this album. It’s straight forward punkrock, heavily influenced by ’50s rock-‘n’-roll. And that is something City Saints does well.
On the production side this re-release is a step up. It doesn’t go too far as to become overproduced, but keeps the rock-‘n’-roll grit while cleaning up the sound a bit. And the good thing about writing punk’n’roll lyrics is that they age with some kind of grace (except perhaps for when it becomes overly sexist, but City Saints doesn’t step in that trap). This is pretty much a party album, with some songs that throw a punch towards authorities and scumbags.
The first half is more towards the party side, drinking, listening to music and having fun with friends. City Saints knows how to write those kinds of songs. The second half is a little bit more interesting though. Our Town is one of my favorite tracks on the album, thematically on the same track as the songs on the first half. But it has a nice bar-sing-along feeling reminiscent of early Dropkick Murphys. Dick slows down the tempo a bit, Living Hell has some strong Misfits-vibes in the chorus, Public Animal is vocally gritty and almost growly and the track City Saints gives some heavy Ace of Spades vibes. The album as a whole has a lot of homages to bands that has inspired the Saints, and the variations in style is nice.
All in all, Kicking Ass for the Working Class from City Saints is a nice re-release that has stood up through the decade. The uplift in production helps the tracks come through. Lyrically it’s somewhat on the safe side, the bands more edgy stuff was on the Swedish side of last year’s double album. But if you’re looking for some straight forward and melodic punk’n’roll, City Saints got you covered. As for the vinyl (released on Sunny Bastards records), it’s a nice heavy piece and comes with am inlet where Stefan, Gabriel and Carl gives some short comments on the inspirations of each song.