8.5 / 10
Toronto garage punk trio The Mature Themes crawl up from the dusty basement with their five-song debut EP No Less. The cover features a faceless man cracking a monster truck tire with a sledgehammer; a bold representation of the music found within.
The EP kicks you in the face with “Go Getter,” a high-energy and catchy banger. It sets the template for the other four songs: simple four-chord structures, with lots of feedback and fuzz coming from Ben Cranston’s guitar. Add in the pounding drums of Cody Fitzgerald, and it creates a dynamic similar to one of my current favourite garage acts, Heart Attack Kids.
Cranston’s vocals are drenched in reverb making for the famed Elvis slap back echo effect. During instrumental segments, Cranston hoots and howls under the guitars, creating a sound similar to Joe Strummer’s howling at the end of the Clash classic “London Calling.”
Each song clocks in between two to two-and-a-half minutes, with the exception of “Cherry Cola,” two seconds shy of a minute. Cranston hollers “I got my cherry cola!” over and over to the point of his voice cracking.
The closer “Faith Healer,” Jesse Gutzman comes in with a cool crunchy bass intro, before Fitzgerald kicks in and Cranston stomps on his flanger pedal. The song pulses and shakes with each effect.
Within ten minutes, it’s all over. When reviewing music for Bucketlist, I usually listen to an album two or three times (or only once if it’s really awful). But I’ve probably listened to No Less more times than I can count on one hand. And I wouldn’t really mind listening to it several more times. It gets me pumped up, and I noticed something new on every listen. I would love to get my hands on a tape of this EP. It would fit nicely into my small collection.
Written by Chris Aitkens
*edited by Danielle Kenedy