Street Dogs are back with their sixth studio album, which is also their first album in eight years, Stand for Something or Die for Nothing. For the uninitiated, Street Dogs have a working class street punk and roll sound that has never been tighter than what is on display on this album.
The title track “Stand for Something or Die for Nothing” opens up this album. A classic reminder of everything Street Dogs bring to the table, catchy super tight guitars, socio-political lyrical warnings, and gang-vocals that suck the listener right into the narrative. The topics covered are all in the same vein, generated largely by anger with the current political environment. There’s the blue collar “Working Class Heroes”, the immigration story of “The Round Up”, the warning to future generations in “Other Ones”, and the redemption of “The Comeback Zone”. With one highlight being “Angels Calling” featuring Boston rapper Slaine, who’s appearance gives this rowdy song a boost of energy and a sense of urgency. It’s a perfect way to blend genres in a way that will have you hitting repeat.
This album really shines with a couple of emotional tracks, the first being “These Ain’t the Old Days”. An ode to friends who were unable to overcome their struggles. The emotion put forth by Lenny Lashley on this track is extremely touching. The other song is “Lest We Forget”, the story of a Boston kid who moved to New York to be a firefighter and met a tragic end on September 11, 2001. This song has an energy that betrays its melancholic nature. On a first listen it’s a punk rock banger where it is easy to imagine the crowd singing along to every word. However the more you pay attention the more you will realize that this is a heart-breaker, a super catchy sing-along heart-breaker.
Most of Stand for Something or Die for Nothing is blazing punk rock and roll, however Street Dogs show off their chops on a couple of outliers. “Mary on Believer Street” sounds like a 70’s rock song complete with the high register vocals, and guitar work that sounds lifted from Keith Richards. Ironically enough, this album ends with a cover of “Torn and Frayed” off The Rolling Stones’ Exile on Main St. It’s a faithful cover with Street Dogs soul.
“The dumbing down of America is a reason to write songs in 2018” says lead singer Mike McColgan when discussing this album, “The theme is wake the fuck up and the working class needs to unite across all colors, creeds, nationalities, genders and realize that we are being pitted against each other by snake oil salesmen and autocrats”. Perfectly described and delivered as promised.