The New Values' self-titled debut takes a roundabout route

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The New Values (Independent)

Despite sporting an opener called “Straight Line”, local punk trio the New Values takes a roundabout route to kicking off its self-titled debut LP. It takes a full 23 seconds of middling feedback—more of a tinny annoyance than an epic aural whitewash—before the band actually blitzes into the ’80s hardcore–referencing collection. This seems absurdly wasteful when you consider that only two other tracks on the 11-song affair crack the two-minute mark. The group easily redeems the minor gaffe, though, once it quits dilly-dallying.

Likely thinking it too easy to bow at the altar of genre forefathers Minor Threat and Bad Brains, guitarist-vocalist Adam Sabla, bassist-vocalist Hayz Fisher, and drummer Ryan Betts have decided to rep the speedier side of Hüsker Dü instead. The compact “Kennedy Shuffle” and “Live or Die” both lovingly shove a ton of power chords into each melodic-but-mean progression, to the point where they could be etched somewhere on Zen Arcade.

“Don McKellar”, meanwhile, brings the band from the U.S. Midwest back to Canada, at least topic-wise. Atop a moshy sonic backdrop, the track homes in on the actor and director’s biography, from his breakthrough role in Highway 61 to the tragic death of his wife, Tracy Wright.

The band caps the release with “Facebook Breakup”, a misanthropic missive on modern dating that seemingly channels the very moment you realize the love of your life has detagged you from every picture on his or her timeline. It’s brutal but, well, those are our new values.

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