VCR - R.I.P. Sportsboy (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick


R.I.P. Sportsboy (2016)

Barfbag REcords

If you are to believe their obtuse (and infrequent) dispatches, Toronto’s VCR have already broken up. That’s a shame because the band’s debut album, R.I.P. Sportsboy puts every one of its manic 18 minutes to use. Though, it is somewhat fitting that a band as combustible as this couldn’t even make it through the release of their debut album.

Although VCR could be categorized as ”Synth-punk” due to the prevalent haunted house keyboards that ripple through the album, such a title is merely a convenience. Clearly, what the band is most focused on is sheer chaos. The band stomps and rolls through songs that are wisps, tying them together into some sort of art-damaged collage. It’s hard to tell where one song starts and another ends. Most of the music is propelled by bombastic, flighty drums and the aforementioned keyboard- sometimes the two lock together and sometimes they each go off on their own mission, making the turn from noisy to cacophony.

Vocalist Sportsboy both draws the mania together and makes it that much more fractured. He often forgoes “singing” for screaming and grunting, like Iggy Pop in his deranged state. When Sportsboy does pull himself together to make some sort of point, he devolves into a violent id- at one point he pants-es the prime minister. At another, he gets in a gun fight with the cops. Yet in another he is abducted by aliens and finally he gets himself into a heavy duty BDSM session.

His obsessions are both innocent scallywag tales and perverted, prurient tales. Does he really mean these nasty things that he is grunting, or is it just a salute to chaos itself? As the band tumbles from song splinter to song splinter, there’s a great deal of joy in this mania, almost as if the band is unaware that their horrible things are bad. They simply seem to think gunfighting and beating up detractors is funny… and to be fair, it sort of is here.

You could say that R.I.P. Sportsboy is a reaction to the incessant by-the-book proselytizing of modern music (and modern society) and in a way, seeks to regain the dark mania of the early nasty punks ala The Viletones, Black Randy, the Pagans, etc. Or, you could say that these songs are a so damaged, and so manic, that there cannot be such a level of intellectualism and this album is just wild people letting their true spirit out of its fleshy cage.

Like all the best punk albums, the true meaning of R.I.P. Sportsboy isn’t apparent at face value (or even at deeper probing). Instead, it’s a puzzle that’s meant to be left unfinished and unanswered. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that the music rips.