In a tough three years of ups and mainly downs, for Toronto trio The OBGMs (which apparently stands for Ooohh Baby Gimme Mores) there was time for some soul searching. The conclusion that was drawn is simple – screw it, we’re good enough, and screw you if you disagree.
The resultant record, ‘The Ends’, is one absolutely dripping with succulent riffs, gut-wrenching beats, and, most importantly, confidence.
Few albums are bold enough to start out as strong as ‘The Ends’. This one kicks off with the rhythmic bongos and purely confrontational lyrics of ‘Outsah’. It’s a theme that carries throughout the record with ‘Fight Song’ and ‘WTFRU’; The OBGMs really do seem to be ready to throw hands at the drop of a hat. But, this is punk, so such seething resentment is perfectly fitted to their ‘had enough’ vibe.
Not every song is a, um, fight song. Some explore more relatable themes, still via their undoubtedly punk rock ways. ‘Cash’ is simply about being broke, and its fearsome, growling vocals don’t stink of anger or desperation as much as they make the very compelling argument as to why you should invest in this bunch. ‘All My Friends’ explores fake friendships by taking a basic up-and-down melody, and layering it with screeching, grating vocals and thrashing drums for an overall uneasy feeling.
Are The OBGMs as good as they believe themselves to be? Well, honestly, yes. It’s difficult to think of any other artists who bend and twist the musical genre in such revolutionary ways while still managing to both keep within the realms of punk, and to actually sound good. They’re not the first to shriek into a microphone over heavy riffs, but they’re one of the few who manage to keep such caterwauling sounding smooth and rich, like a caffeine addict’s first kick from a particularly strong espresso.
There’s a great deal of respect to be had for strains of flower/folk punk like we see with The Homeless Gospel Choir or Frank Turner, because sometimes, in a sucky world like ours, being nice really is pretty punk. But this leaves behind the folks who still have stuff to be really angry about.
For them, The OBGMs might just be the strain of anarchic, bonafide punk sorely needed to let off some pent-up steam.