The Literal Death (Independent)
Whether it’s the rise of Trump’s America or the uncovering of conservative trolls on this side of the border, there’s an argument to be made that the political climate is making it too depressing to get out of bed anymore. It’s being suggested right on local pop-punk quintet Shit Boys’ debut tape, The Literal Death, where the band contemplates the end of days on the dour, society-damning “I Quit”.
“What’s the point of trying when the system’s rigged,” vocalist Gary Byrne spits over cranked-Marshall power chords in a glass-and-gravel-chewing growl. That said, getting behind the mike is a sign that he’s not given up quite yet, the group’s seven-song set acting as a tacit stand against utter complacency.
“Cold Case” tries to shake things up by asking why so many missing-persons cases get dropped. Notably, proceeds from Shit Boys’ recent tape-release show went to WISH Vancouver, which is dedicated to improving the health and safety of women who are involved in the city’s street-based sex trade.
“Ditch the Pitch” is an anthemic shout-out to “the proletariat” delivered with punchy one-two drums and razor-wire guitar hooks in the vein of U.K. legends Leatherface. It’s a formula the Vancouver outfit follows a little too closely, leading to a fairly uniform release. The title track, however, unfortunately stands out quite awkwardly with its clownish, circus-style ascending guitar lead and phaser effects.
The Literal Death tries to make sense of this failing world the best it can. Though Byrne occasionally edges towards hopelessness, it’s clear he’s still got a few upstanding, defiant howls in him before his final breath.