Album Review: Down By Law – Quick Hits: Live In The Studio

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Down By Law

Quick Hits: Live In The Studio - Kung Fu Records

The Long running LA punk band Down By Law have today released “Quick Hits: Live In Studio” via Cleopatra Records, a release that follows on from the summer release of the album by Kung Fu Records. Founder member Dave Smalley remains the band’s only constant, he was joined in the studio to thrash out “Quick Hits: Live In Studio” by longtime members Sam Williams and John Di Mambro and drummer Jack Criswell. Their latest release follows on from 2018’s “All In“, with a new album so recently released what “Quick Hits: Live In Studio” offers is a look back at the band’s early releases, but this is not just another compilation. 

There is a tendency amongst some veteran punk bands, and as Down By Law hit 30 years old this year they come under that heading, to lapse into regularly releasing best of or live albums that might have a token new song thrown into the mix, something that can be deeply frustrating to their long term fans. Whilst “Quick Hits: Live In The Studio” is technically a best of there’s more to it than that as the album does what it says on the sleeve as the songs have been re-recorded in one take live in the studio. Whilst technically this is another compilation, it’s not just the same versions of the songs you already know and love, “Quick Hits: Live In The Studio” offers a fresh take on Down By Law‘s vintage material.

Quick Hits: Live In Studio” offers a revitalised take on songs from 1992’s “Blue“, 1994’s “Punkrockacademyfightsong“, 1996’s “All Scratched Up“, 1997’s “Last Of The Sharpshooters“, 1999’s “Fly The Flag“, 2003’s “Windwardtidesandwaywardsails”  2012’s “Champions At Heart” and 2018’s “All In“, much like the much loved, and even more missed, Peel Sessions recordings this is the band stripped of studio finesse and as you would hear them live, but without the drop in sound quality of many live recordings, and to my ears it’s all the better for that approach. Whether you’re a die hard fan or you’re getting your first introduction to Down By Law this is an album that shows that even after three decades they haven’t mellowed and are still going strong.

Quick Hits: Live In Studio” is now via Kung Fu Records here

Down By Law‘s website is here