Unleashing another contagion of oi punk with antagonistic intent and virulent enterprise, US rockers Toughskins and their new EP continues the impressive presence of the band since its return three years ago. Keep The Faith unleashes four provocations which ignite and excite the passions, belligerence and aggression raging through their veins like a predatory epidemic as the LA quartet continues to bring their vicious snarl to punk rock.
Established in 1993, Toughskins uncaged their album Raised In Anger in 1995, the highly regarded classic receiving a re-release three years later. The band soon earned and built a strong reputation for their uncompromising songs and live performances but split around 1996/97. One half of the original line-up made a short lived return releasing a split 7” with Broken Heroes on Headache Records before Toughskins lengthy ‘hiatus’ was ended in 2010 when Danny Oi! who was not in the first attempt, brought the band back to life, he moving from bass to fronting the returning force. 2012 saw the band provide a track for the Cashing In On Christmas compilation on Black Hole Records followed by the acclaimed Anger Management EP on Randale Records. The band has continued to make their mark since their return with shows alongside the likes of Rancid, Transplants, Old Firm Casuals, Harrington Saints, Bonecrusher, Cromags, Menace and more, and with guitarist David Perez (Ten Hole Bootboys, C.I, Street Value), bassist Anthony Oi! (Society’s Victims, Ten Hole Bootboys, C.I, The Hardknocks, Fed Up, KBS, Ratas Rabiosas), and drummer Loucifer (Bovver Wonderland, The Choice, Generators) alongside the remaining founder member Danny, Toughskins uncage the excellent Keep The Faith EP through Rebel Sound Music in the US and Randale in Europe, a release pushing the band further to the fore of oi and punk in general.
Too Young to Care sets things off, its initial coaxing simple coarse riffing alongside a great adventurous bassline with a deliciously inviting tone. With crisp beats also framing the entrance the track takes little time in composing itself before expelling a fire of sonic attitude and scowling vocals from Danny, ably backed by group shouts and aggressive harmonies. The bass enterprise continues to impress throughout the song, its rapacious yet welcoming lures a delicious tempting within the squalling assault. The track is an inventive but direct and purposeful provocation which leaves thoughts and energy agitated and passions satisfied.
The following title track opens with a cheeky swagger to its mini blazes of riffs, a sense of The Vox Dolomites coating thoughts before a more Menace like rampage springs free to nag and chew the ears. Once again the bass stands out, as across the EP as a whole, but equally the guitar casts infectious inventive bait whilst the rhythms play with concussive devilry to drive the song and release with eager rabidity. Adding the great anthemic causticity of Danny’s vocals and you have a song which gets the pulse racing and passions burning, which is exactly what the next up Black and Blue also achieves with ease.
The third track bruises the air in predacious style, vocals and riffs chewing on senses and thoughts respectively whilst the drums slap anything in their path as the bass continues to lend the release a swagger and keen adventure to match the appetite of the intensity and instinctive hostile defiance soaking every note and syllable. It is another forceful treat soon surpassed by closing track Crack Some Skulls, the riot inciting emotions from its first irascible grazing. With enticing rock exploits from the guitar and a rolling rumble sculpted by drums and bass, the finale is a furious incendiary anthem which you just cannot resist or miss adding voice and limbs to.
Keep The Faith is an outstanding mental and emotional goading from a band which is in its heyday, or you suspect leading up to it.
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