Downtown Boys – Cost Of Living


Downtown Boys - Cost Of Living (Sub Pop) 2017


At a time where discrimination towards the Latino and LGBTQ communities in America is precipitously rising, Downtown Boys are only more emboldened in their M.O. of pugnacious, anti-establishment punk. Signing with Sub Pop and working with Fugazi’s Guy Piccioto for their third full-length record, the Rhode Island quartet eases back on the stampeding double-times that were abundant in their previous album, instead taking their time to sculpt out more melodies. Along with a bit more backing from synthesizers, guitars expand beyond fervent bar chords, delivering more defined lead riffs in “I’m Enough (I Want More),” “Clara Rancia,” and the Dead Kennedys-esque “Because You.” And while the horn sections are as present this time around, they make their moments count in “Lips That Bite” and “It Can’t Wait.”

On top of it all, frontwoman Victoria Ruiz’s abrasive vocals remain the driving force of the band’s sound. Though her lyrics may not be as laser-focused as some of their punk peers, Ruiz is unwavering with what she’s standing up for, from her shouts delegitimizing Trump’s cornerstone political promise in “A Wall,” to her Spanish rallying cries supporting her heritage in “Somos Chulas (No Somos Pendejas),” its title translating to “We are intelligent, we are not idiots.”

Words: Sam Mendez
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