Champion Lover is the scuff and hardiness of a good pair of boots. These guys are an Ontario based quartet that plays loud, scrappy and noisy punk and today, we’re looking at their debut self-titled LP that was released back on June 20th. They’re also preparing to release the vinyl itself on the 18th of July (tomorrow), so that’s something to be excited about if these guys arouse your ears.
To get a very basic idea of the noises that these guys make, think of Fugazi, in a way. Although I think that these guys do stand by themselves as musicians, I see a lot of similarities to Fugazi. They’re both very typically aggressive, I mean, the way that lead vocalist, Edward Masuda, belts out his vocals on tracks like Vacant and Bad Day are really desperate and mean. The way that Champion Lover play is also extremely agitated, the vast majority of these songs feel incredibly intense with the way that the rhythms are put together.
The tracks build and shift always keep you on your toes. Shooter, is this really driving song, the bass and drums gel so well together and it’s not hard to imagine bolting down a highway listening to this. However, you also have, Read My Mind, which is energetic, has fantastic drumming and really puts across this sense of urgency that can make decent punk sound like good punk.
Which reminds me, the drumming in this album is really stylish. I love the jazziness during Could You Be Mine (I know it’s not jazzy, but I like the word and sound), similarly, the drums are incredibly punchy and effective during She Likes Wu-Tang. The bass in the intro to this tune is also colossal and I’d love to hear it in a live setting at some point. The drums and the bass work together to create this overwhelming sense of urgency in a lot of the songs.
From this sense of urgency, and often in the vocals, I picked up a strange taste of Nirvana as well. It was mostly in the guitar and vocals of Bad Day and Just Hollow, it’s hard to explain, but I can definitely hear it.
I would have liked to have seen the vocals be turned up, just a smidge in the mixing. Mainly because a genre like punk owes itself to playing loud and shouting louder, but it’s also nice to be able to understand what the vocals are rapping on about. That’s not to say these vocals are indistinguishable, but just a bit difficult to make out sometimes.
Champion Lover’s debut self-titled is a thickly intense album that sounds great; it offers very little in terms of a break whilst listening and comes at you, track after track. It flows well, it’s well produced and at times, it feels catchy with How Will I Know and I see You.
Don’t have a Bad day, Read My Mind and support Champion Lover, or you’ll be Lost and have a Vacant Heart.