May 25, 2010 - Say- 10
The sophomore full-length by Philadelphia three-piece Dirty Tactics is more of the same beer-fueled melodic punk that the band have steadily gained a reputation for. Somewhere between the gruff No Idea Records style (think Against Me! and the Tim Version) and the Bay Area pop-punk scene of the '90s (Pinhead Gunpowder, Crimpshine), Dirty Tactics also add a greaser edge to a few of these tunes. "Side Of The Road" goes from a goofy opera intro to a song that could have been on the soundtrack to The Outsiders, bringing to mind flashing switchblades and leather coats with the collars up. It's an element of danger that a lot of melodic punk is sadly missing.
Unfortunately, other parts of It Is What It Is are way too off-the-cuff and silly. We're sure there never needs to be another track called "Train Song," ever, and having the band members laughing and goofing around at the beginning of the lackluster track makes this one a double whammy. In fact, a number of these songs start off like jokes, be it lounge music spoofs or tongue-in-cheek acoustic ditties sung in foreign languages. It all gets pretty annoying after awhile. But it's peppy, snotty punk tracks like "When You Wake Up" and "Highway Robbery" that more than make up for Dirty Tactics' frequent indiscretions.