Death Ridge Boys round out 2019 with their third release of the year and second on Blackwater Records. “(Don’t Let Them) Divide Us” delivers an anthemic boot stomper, equal parts punk and Oi! with a straight up rock ‘n’ roll chaser. “Working” is a classic ode to the daily grind for the punks that roll up their sleeves at the crack of dawn. Big riffs and a hard driving rhythm section set the pace on this banger of an EP. 400 pressed on black vinyl.
Our take: I’m surprised Portland’s Death Ridge Boys hasn’t received more hype. They released a full length tape a few years ago (since repressed on vinyl and in stock at Sorry State) and have followed that up with two 7”s in the past year, of which Don’t Let Them Divide Us is the latest. Their earlier material was straight up, catchy oi!-punk with leftist, pro-PC lyrics, but these two tracks find the band dallying with different sub-styles of oi! / skinhead music. “Don’t Let Them Divide Us” kicks off with a melodic, Blitz-style guitar riff, which quickly joins a complimentary riff from the second guitarist in more of a rock-and-roll / bootboy glam style. I’m a sucker for two-guitar bands, and throughout this track the two guitarists’ complimentary styles keep things peppy. Add in anthemic vocals and you have exactly the single a-side I imagine Death Ridge Boys was aiming for. The b-side, “Working” (not a Cock Sparrer cover) is faster, tougher, and shorter, but just as accomplished from a songwriting standpoint. Fans of contemporary oi! and other retro forms of skinhead rock-and-roll should check this out as it’s just as good as the members’ impressive pedigrees suggest.