There’s no shame in admitting you’ve fallen into something of a less-than-exiting routine over the past year and a half. Binge-watching everything from The Crown to The Queen’s Gambit to the fascinatingly execrable Richie Rich on Netflix. Ploughing through, each night, the collected works of Franz Kafka, John Steinbeck, and Cormac McCarthy for no other reason than they all make grinding misery an art form—something that’s been more-than-relatable to for the last 16 months.
And let’s not forget eating cold chili from a can in your ginch at one in the morning, usually half-cut while watching YouTube videos of Amyl and the Sniffers, Algiers, and Wolf Alice. Sometimes throwing things in the microwave simply seems like too much effort.
This is your new reality, and it’s going to take something extra-special to get you excited about living again. Enter Wine Lips, who might be the best reason to be jealous of everything-Toronto since Metz, Fucked Up, and PUP.
Before the end of times, the quartet was already on a mission to burn itself into the hearts of retro-rawk fans, ripping up the clubs of Eastern Canada, and ambitiously touring Hong Kong and China. An eponymous 2017 debut sounded like the clubs of circa-2000 Detroit channelling Lenny Kaye’s Nuggets compilations, with 2019’s Stressor upping the street-walking-cheetah swagger.
And then everything changed in the world. Which, from the looks of the new video for the new single “Eyes”, didn’t slow down Wine Lips one fucking iota. The song—off the upcoming full-length Mushroom Death Sex Bummer Party—is double-time, turbo-snotty garage rock slimed in gloriously vintage reverb. And, if possible, the video is even greater—a testimony to the power of setting up in a room, turning on the cameras, and then having at ’er. Think the spirit of the Clash’s “Tommy Gun”. Or the Pretenders’ “Tattooed Love Boys”. Or D.O.A.’s “World War 3”.
Except with “Eyes” the action seems to take place in the bottom of a glow-in-the-dark garbage bag in a grimy alley, which somehow seems appropriate. From there it’s a two-minute roar where shirts are optional (at least for singer Cam Hilborn), Radio Shack manager moustaches are the height of facial-hair fashion, and the two main colour schemes are hipster-belt white and Glad garbage-bag black.
Powering everything is a Hilborn performance that suggests coffee, coffee, and espresso coffee are his three favourite things on the planet, and the sight of Aurora Evans playing tireless locomotive on the drums.
It’s enough to make you excited about the idea of putting down that can of cold chili if, and when, Wine Lips ends up playing Vancouver. And, you know, maybe putting on pants and leaving the house. Don’t worry, you can bring The Road with you.