I first heard of Dead Broke’s hype when I worked at Burly Calling for the second year in a row. My buddies in The Penske File do nothing but rave about this Oakville, Ontario quartet, so when the album review fell into my lap I gave it a shot and made my ears sonically munch on Dead Broke’s full length self-titled release.
To be honest (like, dead honest), garage punk is not my thing at all. So when I got assigned to review Dead Broke, I tried to like it and digest it internally as a punk rock kid with a decently eclectic palette. I couldn’t make myself like garage punk as a genre, but despite that, this record rules! I listened to each song on the record via their Bandcamp and it is very, very good.
One thing I learned while being in a touring band is to have strong, solid tracks with short intros at the beginning of the record, so you hook the listener as soon as possible. The Dead Broke album did exactly that. The two songs that stuck out to me the most were “Moonshine Queen” and “Sweet Talk.” Like I said, I’m not a dude who digs this sub genre of punk rock; 77’ punk is cool, and early White stripes is good, but it never stuck with me. Yet those two tracks make me happy: they’re smart, well-structured songs. They’re also (oh my god why do I do this) cinematic. I’ve been doing this with music a lot lately: I picture it as the soundtrack for a movie or a TV show. Right now, with remnants of their jams stuck in my head, I’m envisioning frames and sequences from 60s and 70s films with car chases, raccoon eyes, and a young Harvey Keitel. If you ask me, those are rad things to have in your brain while listening to un-signed bands from Ontario.
At the same time, because of its movie-esque appeal, it reminds me of a lot of Swedish garage punk and power pop bands who keep that aesthetic alive, like The Hives, Sahara Hotnights, and the Hellacopters.
I definitely suggest listening to Dead Broke. They’re making a lot of waves: they slayed as headliners at the Silver Dollar in Toronto, ON and packed the house. If you have roughly 10$, go to their Bandcamp and buy this record so you can listen to it while you work at a shitty beer bar or while you clean your apartment.
Regardless of whether I like this subgenre or not, I gladly rate this release as a solid 8/10: 8 car chases out of 10; 8 fuzz pedals out of 10; maybe even 8 Swedish meatballs out of 10. I don’t know, but this self-titled Dead Broke record is solid. Good for them.
Written by Gabriel Koury