First Base – Not That Bad (Drunken Sailor Records, 2017)

This is well nifty. I’m totally buzzing of this record, and I shall tell you why. As someone with a generally negative outlook (no surprises there, eh?), I have been known to firmly grip onto the odd record here and there that makes me feel like everything is actually OK after all. This is one of those records.

From the top, then. This isn’t going to be an epic of a review. That wouldn’t fit the tone here at all. This is like a slice of summer in the bleak mid-winter (not a Peaky Blinders reference). What Toronto’s First Base have done here is take that particularly novel element of The Queers. The one where they seem to channel the boardwalk 60s Cali-surf pop influence of the Beach Boys and shackle it to the core of their mainly Ramones based sound, and produce those amazingly wistful love songs (y’know, the ones that stand bizarrely at odds with their other side which is a bit crass, snotty, and borderline off-colour). First Base have taken that classic Lookout! Records pop punk sound (referencing also Squirt Gun, Mr T Experience, Screeching Weasel et al), and foregrounded that 60s influence even more, whilst still maintaining a fair whack of your buzz-saw back drop.

This record seems to perfectly encapsulate the minor dramas of day to day life without feeling the need to get all hyperbolic. There’s no overly purple prose here. Sometimes, it’s clear to me at least, a band just has to let rip with the unadorned, simple genius of addressing lightweight concerns and make what is close to a perfectly infectious pop punk record. Call it pop punk, call it power pop, it doesn’t matter. In my eyes, both labels would be appropriate.

Tony of Nurgle rating: 9/10

Check it yourself on the player below, playah.

Juice has done it again with another choice release. Well done that man. Hook one up on limited blue vinyl (if you are quick) or black vinyl if not here

Tony of Nurgle is a true child of the North, recently returned to Yorkshire and residing in Leeds (after close to a decade living in exile in Croydon and South East London). He used to co-run a specialist record store in Manchester (Roadkill Records), and also several years as a promoter, and put on shows for the likes of Leatherface, the Loved Ones, Lucero, Minus The Bear, These Arms Are Snakes, Spy vs Spy, Latterman etc. He also spent several years DJing at shady rock clubs in Manchester, and started the infamous Thursday night "punk room" at Jilly's Rockworld. Also responsible for Middle Finger Response, and collaborated with a couple of friends on a monthly night called Refuse to Lose, which will still occasionally reunite the original DJ line-up - next event at Retro in Manchester on 07/09/2019. Apart from that, it's all bitterness and a jaundiced view of human nature, occasionally skateboarding, always exhausted, often reading books with maps in the front.

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