Mansbridge‘s self-titled debut EP is standard pop-punk. The riffs are catchy and the hooks are huge, and the short running time of its four tracks is bittersweet. Their lyrical content is consistently emotional but varies in quality, sometimes darkly poetic, and sometimes tacky and typical.
The witty opening track “Our Ghosts” is charming, but the restrained guitar tone makes the song sound dull and uninspired. In the end it became my least favourite song on the record, but on the first listen it gave an accurate idea of what the whole experience would be like, and my love of pop-punk gave me hope for the rest of the record.
“The PBR Cologne” is repetitive, but intelligent and inspirational. I was first introduced to Pabst when I started attending DIY punk shows; for me, the title is infused with both witty criticism and memories forged while listening to songs just like it at unreasonable volumes while partying with my best friends. The organ-toned synth riff near the end of the song is reminiscent of funeral music, underlining the life and death consequences of the punk community’s struggle with sobriety.
“Right From the Start” is emotionally relatable but also dramatic and vague. The lyrics are comforting and romantic despite being dedicated to a bleak outlook. The addition of a piano is charming and makes this my favorite song on the record. “Chest Pains” and the EP as a whole exhibit strong influences from The Flatliners, with a fun, light melody sung by rough voices. On this song bass player Brad is given a chance to shine. His speed is impressive and his tone is gnarly. The song’s anthemic and posi vibes make it an epic closing track. It also creates an interesting contrast to the aggressive but tightly wound opening track. As the fastest song on the EP, it’s an interesting choice for a last song. Rather than wind the listener down, Mansbridge seems determined to leave you more hyped by the end of the record than when you started.
The songs on this EP are nothing new but will satiate anyone who craves catchy pop-punk with dark lyrical content and melody contrasted with gravel laced vocals and distorted guitars. While I may not be particularly inspired to follow their career, as a regular attendee of Montreal pop-punk shows, I welcome the possibility of ending up at a Mansbridge show and seeing these competent local punks on the bill.
Written by Brian Charles Clarke
*edited by Kate Erickson