ALBUM REVIEW: Lenny Lashley’s Gang Of One – Live (Pirates Press Records)

Lenny Lashley is perhaps best known as the founder and frontman of ’90s Boston punk band Darkbuster, and as a member of Street Dogs before they announced their split earlier this year.

He’s also an accomplished solo artist in his Gang Of One guise, and this digital-only release shows him at his most raw and stripped down.

It’s simply the man, his acoustic guitar and a bunch of songs from his impressive back catalogue, recorded live at the Button Factory Stage in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

His songs address the injustices of the world in general and more personal struggles closer to home, but whatever his subject matter, he has the ability to connect with his audience.

Lenny Lashley, right, on stage with Street Dogs. Pic by Gary Welford.

Listening to this album is like having him sat in the corner, playing just for you. The setlist is like a guided tour to his musical past.

He eases himself in gently with Double Miner, a working man’s anthem from his 2019 album All Are Welcome, which also contributes Judy, Lonesome and the single Live Like Lions.

From 2013’s debut solo album Illuminator we get Happily, and the excellent Hooligans, which is one of the standout tracks here.

He dips into his Darkbuster back catalogue too, with the equally wonderful Bomb, from a 2001 split with Tommy And The Terrors, and Try To Make It Right, from the 2005 album A Weakness For Spirits.

Lashley has a welcoming, lived-in voice, full of life experience, but he’s no mean guitarist either, best displayed on Two Robbers, a song from another side projects, one-off country outfit Lenny And The Piss Poor Boys.

But the standout here, for me, is the closing Bruiser, the heartfelt tribute to a sadly-departed friend, which was tucked away on the B-side of the Live Like Lions single.

The only downsides to this cracking album are that there’s only 10 tracks, and that he doesn’t play anything from his Street Dogs days.

Sadly, I’ve never seen Lashley perform like this, but if this album is anything to go by you can put him right up there with fellow punk troubadours like Hot Water Music’s Chuck Ragan and Avail’s Tim Barry. 8/10.

  • Lenny Lashley’s Gang Of One Live is available from his Bandcamp page HERE, or the usual digital outlets.
Gary Welford
gary.ipamusic@gmail.com
ipamusic.co.uk owner