Straight up, to start this off, I’m borderline over punk rock like this. I would have been more stoked when I was 15 years old, playing the Give’em the Boot* compilations on my Sony Discman, but now at 27 I like straight edge posi-core, stoner metal and those mixtapes from Pro–era. My first and only real disclaimer: they did a great job. Holy shit, these boys get better and better, and it’s truly unreal and impressive. East End Radicals is my second review assignment, and Zero Hour ruled.
I have history with East End Radicals. My old band W!NSLOW played tons of shows with the Wellits, one of Scott and Brent from E.E.R’s first bands. So their Celtic folky flavour comes from their roots playing Pogues-style jams in Lachute, Qc. Then they formed East End Radicals, but didn’t come up with their RDP inspired name at that point, so W!NSLOW opened up for them at their first show at Bar St Laurent 2 under the moniker ‘Scott’s Band’. Scott even sang guest vocals on W!NSLOW’s first full length No Place for Foxes**** on our track “Wreckless Disregard”. That was our money-maker. A year or two later, we became jam space roommates at the infamous and gross 1180, and have become ultra buds since. I even put on their last Toronto show at the Central and it ruled.
Now, you’re probably thinking, “Damn, this will be biased and one-sided because Gabe’s buddies with these guys.” NO! I’ve always liked their stuff but to be honest, it’s not totally my thing. Like I said in the beginning, this style of punk is great but it’s more of a nostalgic novelty for me. Either way Zero Hour is top notch. The production is great and each song punches, with serious kick to it. It reminds me of Rancid’s Let Go, where each song is great and there’s no real favourite song. You play the damn thing straight through from track 1 to track 67**.
My two favorite songs on Zero Hour are “Dolce Vita” and “The Day That Could Not Be.” “Dolce Vita” is a wicked anthem, but what I like most about it is the Italian-Canadian relevance to their style. Eric and Matt (guitar and drums) are both fine young Italian men, and so am I. So Italian punks (Aside from Klasse Kriminale***) are diamonds in the rough. Generally, Italian Montrealers are more into Bon Jovi and G’N’R, or lousy throw back 90’s euro dance, so seeing some punx (yes I used an “X”) from the east end of MTL makes me happy.
“The Day that Could Not Be” is the jam that proves how much their musicianship as players and songwriters has sky-rocketed. Like I said, I was introduced to the world of Scott and Brent through their Celtic-inspired folk, and this jam portrays how much better they got and how good they’ll only become.
This is a really good album. I hope Matt Collyer of Stomp Records is stoked, because this gem is a keeper. I gladly, not based out of bias or favoritism or the bro-factor, give this record 9/10 Milano’s Panini’s or 9/10 pints of a Scottish IPA. Sometimes, a sixteen song album could be a bit too over-zealous or abrasive, but not here. Good for them. I’m stoked to see where they go from here. I’ll proudly put on a show for these guys again, no prob.
* Hellcat Records, Tim from Rancid’s label, used to put out rad comps with wicked punk, psychobilly and reggae.
** Epitaph Records back in the day had like 15-23 songs per record, whoa guys!!!
**** A classic pop punk record that slays 😉
The album is available for stream on Exclaim! here.
Written by Gabe Koury