The first thing i thought when I started streaming this album was, "did all the lineup changes in Off With Their Heads finally lead to them becoming a ska-punk band?" Well, apparently that's not the case. It's actually some guy named Nick Charbonneau who sings, and not Ryan Youngat all. WEIRD. Also, a bit off topic, but I promise we're not stalking Death to False Hope Records or anything like that...we don't even know the guy who runs it, or anyone on it other than The Working Dead and Mixtapes; we're just obsessed with most of the music on it. And this Canadian ska-punk delight Brixton Robbers will be releasing material on DTFH, if I interpretted facebook correctly.
I don't know too much about this band. Their myspace page has a pretty long bio section, but I don't know enough French to read it all. I'll have the bear read it and tell me all about them once she gets home from school. Everything I know about them is just how awesome they are. Oh, I also know that they're on Guerilla Asso, a french independent punk label that some other bands I like are on. This means they share some relation with Les Rasoirs Electriques, which is pretty cool. What's also cool is that you can stream this entire album on their bandcamp page. So get to it, and I'll get to reviewing this thing.
Starting the album off with "Bright Light", they start off with the quick transitions from ska strumming to hardcore punk power chording, and once the vocals kick in you're wondering if the Bosstones dropper their horns or of course the whole OWTH conspiracy I immediately suspected. Despite their myspace info being in french, the lyrics are sung in english. The second song, "O Street" is another song in the same style of ska-core goodness and is actually a track you can download for free, which you can also do with the song "Pipe Bomb", which is a powerful song that kicks off with a punk-heavy intro, and leads into a punk-heavy verse, and pretty much hits you in the head with a punk-heavy hammer. The solo in this song sounds like shit Nofx would experiment with. And honestly, the vocals start to remind me of the Do or Die album by Dropkick Murphys, also known as the last album by them I gave a fuck about.
The song "Legal Drinking Age" follows "Pipe Bomb" with more of the ska strumming verses with the 80s hardcore punk chorus, and it's definitely a singalong, especially for you underage drinkers out there. The guitar lead that kicks in after the second chorus is a reminder that this isn't just some ska-punk band, it's more of a punk band that likes to throw in the ska strumming edge for fun. This style is shown off with the fact that this song has a guitar solo ontop of some skanking chords. Which reminds me, you should probably be skanking while blasting this record. I would, but I'm sitting in my friend/our photographer Hollyann's grandma's living room...and I feel awkward enough without dancing for this old lady.
Songs like "Bashing and Hating", "Meaningless", and "$20 Chris" are these cool punk-only tunes which forget the ska and bring the hardcore. When they come on, you know it's time to get on your gym shorts and muscle shirt and start moshericizing. This still leaves you with songs like "The Pit" to go from head bobbing to dancing, and songs like "Green Grass", "Half Awake", "Walk Away" and the lovely closer "Fuck the Shit" to dance or skank your balls (or, to not be sexually exclusive, boobs) off to.
"Walk Away" has this interesting guitar lead part at the intro, and also a nice use of punk lead over ska strumming, which is something this album brings a lot of. It's pretty similar to the style used in the track "Green Grass". Both are great dance songs, and it should be mentioned that this band is a dancing band, through-and-through. They even have a cover of "Rock Lobster" by the B-52s on this album. What more could you ask for when you just want to go to a show and dance the entire time. That's more of the bear's thing than mine, because I'm lazy and cynical and spend a lot of time standing around, unless there's moshing to be done.
If you don't walk away from this album being thoroughly entertained, then there's likely something wrong with you. It's catchy, it's dancy, and it's Canadian. It's also punk as fuck. And this band is going to be releasing stuff for free on a donation based site, and that's pretty damn exciting. Honestly, just gives these guys a good listen when you get a chance. The voice isn't the most original thing ever, and ska-punk has been done inside out in every which direction, but lots of people bring something of their own to the table, and Brixton Robbers definitely fit into that group of people. So run over to bandcamp, turn this shit on, and enjoy life. Love you all.