Debut LP from The Mark Vodka Group oh you know those guys from Nova Scotia, Canada. Well, it’s the place to be and the best band there are called The Mark Vodka Group, that’s a fact I’ve not seen disputed and they include members of the Booji Boys? Their 2019 opus ‘Tube Reducer’ was reviewed on these very pages last year. This however is a different beast altogether as ‘I Wanna Piss In The Face Of The World’ kicks things offs we strap ourselves in for a rocket ride of punk rock that raw, rapid and reckless. It’s taking no prisoners as it rattles through the catchy fast-paced opener.
This is different from the Boojis, of course. While they bury hooks in clouds of distortion, the Mark Vodka Group go for a more accessible sound, Sure its still ‘lo-fi’ and very much DIY. They’ve had their sound described like “a bare-bones Descendants at their most irritably bratty, stealing the Oblivians’ homework and doodling stupid faces all over the most insightful parts”. I wouldn’t dispute that. ‘Goon’ is fash and sharp and to the point, it sounds dumb and full of fun as it races to the finish line, Punk as fuck one might say.
It might be quick but its tuneful and ‘Boy (I’m Allergic To You)’ has a tip of the hat to the kings of melodic punk-pop Buzzcocks. It’s not the only time the homage to the Buzzcocks is aired on this record either ‘Everybody’s Punk Now’, which also boasts a killer Buzzcocks homage. Truth be told, Homages seem like a good idea as ‘You’ve Got To Split’ tips the cap to the Ramones. That’s two greats being aped so you know where these guys are coming from right? Right! Even the song titles give a hint ‘Now I Wanna Be A Bad Boy’ they’ve even got a tune for big-time Charlies and they spit out contempt on ‘Big Time Rocker’ and throw in a suitably smart solo to ram their point home even if they are playing to the converted.
‘Touch Of Grey’ reminds me of the great Pete Perrett and his only ones with its gentler less confrontational strummings. Which only leaves ‘Mark’s Blues’ laments at the album’s close, even when the world turns to shit, there’s always booze: “The drinking hasn’t let me down yet.” I guess Mark Vodka isn’t just a random name. This is a really good record, in a time when new bands are thin on the ground especially ones who can pick up the torch and run with it so raise a glass to Mark Vodka Group.
Author: Dom Daley