Album Review: The Forum Walters – “Lederhosenpunk”

A Google search of “Forum Walter” turned up no clues as to what this band’s name is supposed to mean. A quick check of their bio reveals that they are Austrian, which helps convey why they might have chosen such a bizarre name, but provides no more elucidation of what the name means.

The Forum Walters’ bio page did reveal that they have done extensive touring, including supporting acts like the Dropkick Murphy’s, Swingin’ Utters, Bouncing Souls, Anti-Nowhere League, Street Dogs, Mad Sin, and the Business. Add “the Briggs” to the list, and one would have a very good idea of what one is getting themselves into when putting on FW’s new record “Lederhosen Punk”.

It opens with a quite lovely horn and classical guitar pastoral elegy (replete with sheep and birds in the background), and quickly jumps into the punkabilly title track. There’s some fancy guitar work towards the end of this tune (and all over the record, in fact), but it doesn’t seem forced or out of place. Too often a talented guitarist can run away with the album, playing entirely too much just because they can (*cough*everySuicidalTendenciesrecordever*cough*).

The lyrics run the usual street punk gamut – the good ol’ days, the plight of the working class, drinking songs, some vague idea of a “revolution”. They are generally well-written and would be perfectly acceptable in any American or English band of this style, but I give them extra points for writing this style so well in their second language. Seriously. Few native English speakers know what purloined even means, let alone be able to incorporate it into a chorus (“Two-Sided Coin”). There is enough clever turn-of-phrase for me to ignore cliches like “one step forward and two steps back” (“One Step, Two Step”).

What’s missing for me on this record is the heart behind the singing. These lyrics need to be sold to the audience, and throughout much of the record I simply don’t buy it. C’mon guys (and gal, on “Punkrock Pirates” and “Alone”). Blow your voices out. Get pissed. This is punkrock, you should barely be able to sing by the end of the set.

This want of vocal energy from the lead singer is perfectly illustrated on “Punkrock Pirates”, an upbeat and catchy tune with a fantastic three-part harmony on the chorus. Each verse is sung by a different person. The first, by the usual singer, with the usual energy. The second, by someone else in the band. Though this person isn’t the greatest singer, they bring a Jesse Micheals/Tim Armstrong energy to it. The song really doesn’t kick until third verse, when Joey Briggs lends his sauce to the goulash, showing just how much an energetic singer can add to a band. If they could put out this level of energy on every song they would be unstoppable.

Overall, this is a strong street-punk record with decent production, better-than-average songwriting, and pretty damned decent lyrics. Three point five stars.

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