Release Date – 30/10/2020
Record Label – Black Box Recordings
For Fans Of – Trash Talk, PUP, Rage Against the Machine
Describing themselves as the Steph Curry of rock creates a slightly amusing portrayal of The OBGMs. But look (and listen) beneath the surface and it becomes abundantly clear that this Canadian punk trio have all the tools to change the face of rock music for the better. Offering an exquisitely crafted cross-genre sound with exhilarating beats blurring the lines between punk/metal and jungle, and a distorted vocal sound that adds to the angry atmosphere built by hostile guitar and bass lines, this is a record that may well have the potential to bring punk back into the mainstream.
The opening track of the record, ‘Outsah’ features the use of African drums, a recurring sound throughout the album but one that still feels out of place amongst such angst and aggression. However, that’s exactly what gives The Ends such a memorable feel and stops The OBGMs from becoming bookmarked as “just another punk band”. The ability to carve such authenticity and such uniqueness into every song cannot be understated and whether it’s the intricate use of cross-genre sounds, or the superlative level of integrity felt in every lyric, there’s always something to give every track a distinct edge. Obviously, it’s primarily a punk record and so there are always going to be some songs harnessing the genre’s infamous aggressive vocal and assertive guitar tones, though the infectious energy ingrained in ‘Cash’ and ‘All My Friends’ makes The OBGMs much more danceable and far more enjoyable than an overwhelmingly sombre punk record that has been created thousands of times before. ‘To Death’ adds a somewhat soothing contrast to the rest of the album by creating a space to chill out to before upping the ante leading into closing track ‘Move On’ which sounds as though it’s straight out of an early-2000s American high-school movie.
There are feel-good undertones sparked by the passion and energy poured into every song, but The Ends is not a happy record by any stretch of the imagination. This is a record about death, wanting to die but fighting for something to live for. There’s a definite edge of defiance in the face of adversity that makes the lyricism so relatable and it’s rare for a singer to put their feelings into words in such uncompromising fashion. Amongst all the groovy hooks perfect for letting go and losing yourself in the brutal breakdowns sprinkled throughout The Ends is a lyrical feast full of cathartic brilliance. The combative single preceding the album, ‘Fight Song’ depicts frontman Densil McFarlane’s frustration towards the passive-aggressive, disrespectful nature he feels characterises certain personalities within a corporate workplace. Writing such cutting lyrics about topics that affect normal people in their day-to-day lives makes the The OBGMs feel like a band of the people, expressing relatable experiences in a fiercely punk way – showing no inhibitions in saying it exactly how it is and embracing any and all animosity thrown their way.
The OBGMs are a band that could go toe-to-toe with any other group in their scene and 99% of the time they’d come out on top. What makes that so much more poignant is the fact they’re a black-fronted punk band in a genre dominated by white suburban kids. The musical prowess demonstrated on the record is clear proof that their music is more than good enough to define them, however the fact they’re making such big waves in the punk world whilst playfully experimenting with genre conventions and showing reckless abandon in fusing EDM-style blast beats under ruthless guitars makes it all the more impressive.
The raucous nature present throughout The Ends suggests The OBGMs are deserving of more widespread adoration than they perhaps receive. The vocals are slightly too quiet in places which lessens the effect of such an assertive vocal performance, though as a whole it’s an album which is all too easy to listen to on repeat. The OBGMs stands for The Oooh Baby Gimme Mores – a fitting name that summarises The Ends perfectly.
Rating – 9/10
Recommended Tracks – Outsah, All My Friends, Fight Song