Let's have a show of hands for those of you who live in Toronto? You are some lucky so-and-sos, really you are and hopefully you don't take your bands for granted. There's a plethora of groups coming out of that city, many of which tickle my fancy, pleasure my ears and basically get me all shook up on hearing them and it certainly seems like the place to be. School Damage have just added themselves to that illustrious list, and have done so with just four songs which I'd describe as being a cross between pop-punk and hardcore.
The band's pop-punk element is clearly influenced by Ramones, the band who've underpinned the sound of thousands of bands over the years, as well as having a hint of the snottiness that once made Screeching Weasel the standard bearers for the genre before the band's CEO disappeared up his own rear. The term hardcore is relevant in that the music packs a fair wallop beyond a straightforward pop-punk approach, and this is what helps these four tracks stand out with more substance.
Okay, it's not rocket science to throw together a few chords, some lyrics that occasionally verge on the edge of D.U.M.B. and add a propensity to play at a fair old pace but getting the mix right (I burnt out on pop-punk a fair few years ago) is something that too many bands these days just cannot achieve.
School Damage do the job well and there's more than enough power, melody and sing-along moments on this release to give me a hankering for a full-length by the band. Using a mathematical calculation that verges on the simple, I was able to rank the songs in (descending) order of my favourites:
- "Small Victories" â a really catchy song albeit with a chorus that has almost the same melody sung as in another song by another band but of which the title eludes me.
- "678 Bathurst" â I've looked up this place on Google Earth. If it's the right place it looks somewhat unremarkable, although that can quite often be the case for disturbing activities as those depicted in this song. I also like the use of the phrase "sadistic statistic" in the lyrics.
- "Empty Calories And Male Curiosities" â um, it's just a good song, no other reason for liking it really.
- "See You Next Tuesday" â another âI hate my job' song and one which I'm sure many will empathise with. Let me on the bandwagon!
More School Damage, please.