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From the rather unlikely location of Guelph, Ontario, just a bit west of Toronto and the banks of the mighty Lake Ontario, a rock and roll machine comes roaring, flavored with the passion of punk rock's late '70s godfathers, the sweat of '80s hardcore, and the craftsmanship of '90s indie. This snarling beast of a band is known as The Constantines and they preach the agit-punk gospel with the kind of soul that has endeared The Clash to so many over the years (singer Bry Webb's raspy, shouted polemics make this reference a no-brainer). What makes them so satisfying is the feeling that there's real purpose behind the razor-edged slice and slash of the guitar work and the bouncing aggression of the rhythm section. There's a brilliant mixture of nihilistic cynicism and idealism against their better judgment which makes the sharp planes and angles of The Constantines' songs still more striking. The Cons' great self-titled debut record comes in gorgeous handmade packaging from Toronto-based Three Gut Records, a single matchstick punched through its sleeve providing an obvious metaphor for The Constantines' considerable ability to set things ablaze.