Corner Boys Release 'Waiting for 2020' on Drunken Sailor Records
Vancouver’s Power Pop lineage isn’t deep but it is impressive. At least for any similarly sized North American city. With classic, first wave groups like Pointed Sticks and Modernettes churning out hit-worthy tracks that should be mainstays between puck-drops during our national sport to resurrecting Stiff Records on the strength of Tranzmitors’ early singles. In recent years, 90’s grunge nostalgia came on like a storm and poisoned the musical well to the point that any new bands with a reverb pedal and a press photo taken in the summertime was labeled the double-P. It was depressingly boring.
Vancouver, on the one hand is an art-school scene that finds more substance in the odd and unusual than bands playing tightly within genres. Corner Boys break that mold by paying homage directly to their influences. Whether that is Great Victoria Street in Belfast or the California punk explosion circa 1979. That’s exactly where we find Vancouver’s newest and certainly brightest never-gonna-be-hitmakers: Corner Boys released two 7”s in the last couple of years and are just about to add real inches to their catalog with their debut 12”. Waiting For 2020 is the answer to the space in your record collection between Shock Troops and Damned Damned Damned. That’s not to say there is any of the tough-guy posing or blazing rock ‘n’ roll you’ll find on those classics. What solidifies Corner Boys in this place are infectious melodies and simple, charming songs delivered with two pints full of bratty sarcasm. It’s all big choruses and guitar leads that carry the hook on the lead-off track, ‘Norman’ revealing the dangers of AI. A new version of ‘Joke (of the Neighborhood)’ is included here as well, a slightly faster, richer version of one of their stronger songs that appeared on the Just Don’t Care record. The record doesn’t take anything seriously. Space-age paranoia, failed relationships to the straight-up, modern punk anthem, ‘(I’m Such A) Mess’. Irreverence is key. Fun is a must. It’s a worthy pick up for any fan of 70’s punk or Dirtnap Records pantheon and a truly stunning debut LP. And considering how dire the last couple of Pointed Sticks LPs were or what some people are labeling Power Pop in general, (Power should actually mean something), this should be an attention grabber. Every once in a while a record comes out that helps re-position genres. In 2019, Corner Boys might have accomplished it. If not, it’ll at least stay out of the bargain bin.
Full disclosure: two members of Corner Boys make up half of the band I’m in. So the bias is obvious. What else is obvious is that this is one of Vancouver’s strongest LP’s of 2019. Corner Boys release show is with Dead Ghosts and Sore Points on June 1st at SBC.