Down By Law Windwardtidesandwaywardsails

It's nice to see that Dave Smalley hasn't forgotten how to rock. On the last few Down by Law releases, it seemed Smalley was content to use his band as an outlet for his mod-core tendencies. And while the songs weren't awful, they weren't exactly what the band was all about from the beginning — melodic, aggressive hardcore. This record, the first in four years for DBL, is a return to the band's roots best captured on their 1991 debut and even more successfully on 1994's Punkrockacdemyfightsong. Long-time guitarist and collaborator Sam Williams is especially critical to the mix this time writing or co-writing about half the material with Smalley. It's taken almost ten years, but Down by Law are back to doing what they do best. (Union)