The Corps - From Oblivion (Cover Artwork)

The Corps

From Oblivion (2022)

Thousand Island Records

Nineties' skate punk, DC Comics… The Corps. (pronounced “The Core” for those, like myself, not fully versed in military jargon). This four piece, hailing from Vancouver BC, wear their comic book nerdom on their patched up, jean vest covered shoulders. From Oblivion is a six-song ep released on Thousand Island Records, who seem to be the current torch bearers for skate punk. Produced by Tim Creviston (Spiritbox, Misery Signals) this ep came out last year as a precursor to the next full length which is currently being recorded and produced once again by Creviston.

According to all sources, these four have been tasked with being Green Lanterns and protecting the universe, Sector 2814 to be precise, from whatever threats lay await with their brand of “space punk”. Or whatever. As gimmicky as that may come across, lyrically any one of these songs seem relatable, not only within the DC universe context but to real life, relatable issues as well.

Musically, think classic era NOFX, Satanic Surfers, early NUFAN or really anything nineties Fat Wreck Chords. Lead off track Dear Detective begins the record with a chugging palm mute followed by a guitar solo and an instantly memorable verse. Many bands these days are doing the fast technical skate punk thing but seem to have forgotten about that almighty “hook”. The Corps, Dan Garrison brings that in spades which is unsurprising since he wrote arguably the best Real McKenzies album, Two Devils Will Talk. So that tracks. Andrew shreds on guitar, clearly growing up on a steady diet of nineties punk with Ronnie Ellis and Dan Stenning rounding out the rhythm section. These boys are tight. Mockingbird follows up Dear Detective keeping the pace in full gallop while providing us with those gorgeous octave chords over top of the rhythm guitar. Octave chords are played all over this record and it works every single time.

At their core and dressed down from the DC references, these songs are about hope, friends and relationships. On The Brink closes out with the lyrics “this world is meaningless unless it has you” which one can only surmise is an anti suicide song reinforcing the importance of friends, community and being there for your friends no matter how difficult.

The Pocket, a sing along about drinking after hours in a bar with the curtains drawn surrounded by friends, slows down the momentum for better or worse. It’s a catchy mid tempo earworm that ends with a group harmony singing “We will hideaway together from oblivion.” Perhaps it may have been more successful as an ep closer. Though it succeeds in bringing down the energy only to ramp it up again with Lasso of Truth and eventually closing things out with The Way. An upbeat, buoyant closer with ripping guitar solos and once again overtones of friendship strewn about the lyrics.

Short, sweet and to the point this batch of songs is a marked improvement on the previous full length in terms of production, song writing and overall technical prowess. While certainly not reinventing the wheel, From Oblivion knows exactly what it is and combines the 90’s punk sound with legitimate pop melodies.