We Walk Alone
Are ya ready, kids!?! Are you ready for some no-good street thugs, coming to rough you up and take your lunch money? Are they going to get all up in your grill and call you insulting names like "stupidface", "poopy head", or "Todd"? Well, my friends, these fellas will not do that, unless your name is actually Todd. Windsor, Ontario's own Reckless Upstarts will get all up in your grill with a refreshing take on Oi! and street punk. Combining a hard one-two punch of punk, the gloves are padded with a social conscience, loyalty to one's own inner circles, and espousing working class ethics.
In between shows up and down Southern Ontario's 401 highway, a two-week jaunt across Slavic Europe last September, and the odd set of shows in US, the band managed to find time to record a 10-song LP. The work ethic and ambition from such a "punk's punk band" is impressive and really, kind of, inspirational. Curtis, Matt, (tall) Mike, and (bass) Mike act more as a band of pirates than your typically envisioned street punks. Going wherever they can; giving and taking all they're allowed; then taking their home and travel experiences into We Walk Alone.
An endearing aspect of this shape of punk, is that they sing about their convictions and what pisses them off. Camaraderie within street punk subsets is paramount, especially on tracks like ‘Side By Side’ ("Side by side/ shoulder to shoulder/ we'll never stand apart") and ‘Stay Loyal's call for togetherness in an otherwise decrepit town ("Stay loyal/ stay true/ do what it takes to follow/ Never stray from the pack/ we're nothing without you"). ‘99 Days’ features an out-of-the-gate tonal shift that would blow the sleeves off the drummer while exhorting and standing up for worker's rights. The track ‘Hannover’ would fare well with a Dropkick Murphys collaboration, with the opening lead guitar line doubling with bagpipes and slamming in the mosh pit.
This is meat-and-potatoes pirating punk rock born from an infamous blue-collar town. Armed with a "You're either with us, or against us" attitude, I would opt to be with them: these Rose City boot boys seem to have beers and whisky within quick reach. Though We Walk Alone isn't for everyone, (sonically repetitive to the uninitiated) but more relatable than one would believe. The Reckless Upstarts avoid blending contrasting genres; processed guitars and vocals; and the impersonal synth-heavy production. Instead, in street punk form, they hold true to pure instrumentation, true to the genre, and the camaraderie with the listeners - invited knowing they can never walk alone.
8 / 10