Shortly after signing with independent punk label Black Numbers Records, this four piece from Toronto, Ontario released a surprise, self titled EP. The four track album, which is a follow up to their extremely well received 2013 debut EP Bones, clocks in at just over twelve minutes. Not that their first album didn’t have high production value, but this new one has a more precise, and focused manner to it than their prior offering. No surprise that it was recorded and mixed by Drive Studios’ Steve Rizum who has also worked with the likes of The Flatliners, Dillinger Four and The Penske File, among others. The quality of the production isn’t the only thing that stands out on this sophomore release, however. The thoughtfulness of the lyrics and messages and the articulation in which they are conveyed are what hooked me. It’s deliberate and crystal clear, something akin to punk legends Face to Face in regards to the songwriting and similar to Off With Their Heads in it’s packaging and delivery. It’s tangible, energetic, blue collar music. Sure, it’s catchy and appealing to the masses, but it’s also grittier and more mature than typical pop punk. Since we’ve got all these labels laying around, Easycore would probably be the best classifier, although they categorize themselves as Douchecore. This same lighthearted, self deprecating humor is reinforced on their Facebook page which is pretty good for a laugh. All in all, this album is adroit, with each track expertly ordered to maximize continuity and flow. It has more of a wisdom and depth to it than some others in the overpopulated and extremely broad category of pop punk and that trait is exactly what makes these guys stand out from the rest of the crowd.
Stream the entire EP and check out the track breakdown below! If it elates your ears, both of their albums are available for Name Your Price, show them some support!
IYL: Face to Face; Off With Their Heads, Wolvesx4
“A Song For All the Reptoids of Denver International Airport to Sing” – Right out of the gate, the blaring rock guitars and sudden crash of the cymbals hit you with a jolting impact. I’m a “cold water in the face” kind of morning person, something immediate and jarring is required to get me going. I apply that same theory to my music. Every good album needs to start with a freezing cold splash to the face. Add to that, that this particular cold splash also has a fun and extremely catchy, singable chorus and it helps propel the album from good to great.
“Aether Theories” – I love a good “Morning After” song. Probably because I can relate to them a little more than some of the other pop themes. The chorus (I drank way too much / Sorry shit got weird / We both feel the same / Fuck the world that brought us here) could’ve been my exit theme, playing softly as I stumbled out of every dive bar and alleyway I’ve ever been in (*pre-2002 of course. I’m pretty lame now). If the opening track had the catchiest chorus, this one has the most resonating.
“Air Out Your Stinkables” – I’m sure people were a little skeptical with my Face to Face analogy earlier, but really. Listen to this song and tell me you don’t hear it. The lyrics are so simple and unambiguous that there’s no room for interpretation. They’re just honest ans open, with a point that is meant to be heard. (When we don’t believe in luck / Square pegs in round holes, baby / Don’t expect too much). The standout here though has to be the blazing quick, metal guitar solo that sends the song off on a remarkably high note, although it left me wanting a little more.
“Baroque Obama” – Now we’re talkin’! I don’t know if I could endorse an album without some mention of Orwellian constructs! This track is by far the most memorable for me. In addition to stellar song writing (I need senses of purpose / Bullet points on a list / It makes sense as a concept but in function it just don’t exist / No words or need for nostalgia / I won’t be draggin’ the pond / I can’t romanticize bullshit that I know is bitter, dead and gone), I also scored it exceptionally high on instrumentation and harmonies. All of it is damn near flawless and the perfect end to an superlative second outing for these boys from The North.