!ATTENTION! - Demo 2009 (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Demo 2009 (2009)


Without even hearing a note from the band I was already optimistic that Toronto's !ATTENTION! would bring the goods. Why so stoked? Four-fifths of the band already play together for great results in the hardcore punk band Come Clean and three-fifths play in the equally great roots-punk band Horses. So, is the product of this incestuous behaviour as good as previous concoctions? Pre-tay pre-tay good.

!ATTENTION! play an urgent, distorted kind of pop-punk that would appeal to fans of Dillinger Four and Banner Pilot. Even the long song titles and gruff vocals are intact, but the band wins points for the Home Alone reference of "Look What You Did, You Little Jerk." What a song like "Hindsight Is 20/20, Foresight Is 50/50" really gets right, is what was lacking on the last D4 record -- the vocal interplay between the band members. These guys really know how to mix gang vocals and trade-offs at just the precise moment for added effect. While most of the songs on the demo follow a similar style, the stop-start rhythm and brighter guitars of "Tonight Will Be Like Any Other Night" show the band has a few tricks up their sleeve. The slightly mathy arrangement combined with the shouted vocals come off as a more straightforward version of what a band like Algernon Cadwallader is trying to do and the results are some of the best stuff here.

There is a real world-weary tone to the band's lyrics that seems to speak of small-town hardship and it brings a potency to these short, urgent songs. This is best exemplified in the lyrics to "Stop or My Job Will Shoot": "And I spend every sunrise and sunset, in a tunnel underground, going to or coming from. South west east north, double back in reverse order. Wearing through the soles of my shoes to the sidewalk. Back and forth. South, west, east, north. Whether we like it or not, that's the way it goes."

While the five songs collected here could use a few stronger hooks and the vocals occasionally get a bit too harsh in spots, the demo serves its function in giving a taste of what the band has to offer. It will be interesting to see what !ATTENTION! does with their sound on a proper recording, but until then you can download this at the donation-based label Juiceboxdotcom.