Review: Down By Law / Pseudo Heroes

Down By Law / Pseudo Heroes
(Theologian Records)

This split from Theologian Records highlights the talents of one of punk rock’s most venerated acts, Down By Law, as well as up-and-comers Pseudo Heroes.  Down By Law’s five tracks were recorded live in Europe during the band’s 1999 tour and show why it’s better to burn out than fade away.  After more than a decade together and six full-length releases under their belt, DBL’s strong pop-punk sensibilities are still intact, yet with the exception of their cover of Cheap Trick’s “Surrender” there is little truly noteworthy here.  Due to multiple line-up changes and the jump from Epitaph, DBL has slowed down a bit recently, allowing for the members to pursue other side projects.  Pseudo Heroes, on the other hand, save the day and steals the show.  Sam Williams, lead guitarist for DBL, and his sandpaper gritty vocals make each song a mosaic of throaty, punk textures.  Bandmates Kevin Coss and Carlos Velez-Collins have known each other since they were fourteen, explaining the tremendous resonance and depth found within all five tracks, reminiscent of early Gameface and Jawbreaker.  Be on the lookout for an LP from Pseudo Heroes soon-trust me, it will be worth your while.