Downtown Boys Are Reinvigorating Punk With Equal Parts Anger and Ecstasy

Lead Photo: Photo by Jen Cray

Downtown Boys are a hell of a band, and they’ve been winning over audiences with their boundless amplified chords and passion. But they’re not content to just bounce around a stage and create a climate for the perfect moshpit. Their bilingual lyrics touch on many political subjects, from the big and scary to the everyday stuff we all too often shrug off as PC bullshit. Through their lyrics, co-vocalists Victoria Ruiz and Joey DeFrancesco talk about homophobia, gender, class issues, corruption, racism, and more; and they attack their subject matters head on.

The music is fantastic, serving as reflection and catalyst for the themes to be heard and taken seriously. Taking cues from the class of ‘77 punk style (especially X-Ray Spex, thanks to Ruiz’s vocals and the ever present saxophone), they create music that is equal parts anger and ecstasy. Although the topics they talk about are quite heavy, they never sound overwhelmed by them; rather it’s like they’re trying to reassert themselves in a world that tries its damndest to suppress who they are. It’s almost a celebration in the face of grimness. Lyrically they are informed by politically charged punks like Crass and (especially) Los Crudos, but neither ever sounded so willing to spray silly string on a cop car or cover a song like “Maldito” by Jessy Bulbo.

Their new album Full Communism will be released on May 4 through Don Giovanni Records, and they have shared two songs from it so far. “Mostro” is catchy and insistent, “Dancing in the Dark” more desperate; both demonstrate two sides of a sound and a message that complement each other, demonstrating that Downtown Boys are a very topical, even vital band to have right now. They reinvigorate the very notion of punk as something we still have use for in this twisted unfair world of ours.