Already Break Your Legs have my attention. The nonsensical and amusing song titles (‘My Best Friend Died In That Hat’ and ‘The Ballad of Manwolf Sharkpuncher’) bring to mind Future of the Left trading song titles with Don Caballero. Similarities end there however, although if you had to choose, Break Your Legs would fall more on the side of a scuzzier, dirtier version of Falco’s mob, albeit a lot more roughshod and dilapidated.
Break Your Legs hail from New Brunswick, Canada (home of label, Banana Stand Records) and in true DIY fashion, ‘Ghostcore‘ will be a tape only (retro is back dudes) and of course good old digital download. Thatâ€™s not the only thing thatâ€™s DIY though, eschewing any sort of production values (like Fuck Mountain, this sounds like it was recorded in one room â€“ and that room is a large biscuit tin), Break Your Legs hark back to better, hazier and more intoxicated days. ‘Ghostcore’ is a slovenly, ramshackle of a record held together by rasping vocals, clattering percussion and fractured guitars.
Break Your Legs feel like a band stripping their already stripped down, punk rock to an even more feral and untamed state. I mean, itâ€™s quite weird the direction this is going in during the 27 minutes running time. Opener ‘HAIL SATAN!‘ is basically a clip from the 1968 film Rosemaryâ€™s Baby, backed by a sinister, whining guitar tone and some soft, tribal drumming – itâ€™s freaky, I mean, itâ€™s the kind of disturbing thing youâ€™d hear on a Misfits album or some grindcore comp (and the closing track is the lift-scene from The Shining)!
‘Brace Yourself, Chick’ follows and is strangely uplifting â€“ all fuzzy pop-rock, complete with throaty vocal yelps, like a drunk Chuck Ragan shouting over a Thermals cover. ‘Laundry Ghost‘ is a meaty upgrade of this, shouts of “FUCK YOU GHOST!”, that scuzzy, down-tuned riffage, rattling drumbeats and barely-audible screams on the songs punchy coda are a thrilling caterwaul.
‘Ghostcore’ is a slovenly, ramshackle of a record held together by rasping vocals, clattering percussion and fractured guitars.
‘My Best Friend Died In That Hat’ is a slurred, splatter reminiscent of Brett Hunter’s The Heat Tape, but is also delightfully tuneful in all itâ€™s uncaring, snotty execution. In fact, almost all of â€˜Ghostcoreâ€™ gives a nod to ‘Raccoon Valley Recordings’ (The Heat Tape’s first album), which is a good thing, as that album was a fantastic scrawl of scratchy, garage punk. ‘Ghostcore‘ more-or-less equals that, channelling a hazy, stoned â€˜whatever, manâ€™ attitude alongside.
Shouty, chewed-up garage punk makes up ‘The Ballad of Manwolf Sharkpuncher’, which actually goes some way to references itâ€™s bizarre song title, mentioning being chased by wolves, howling at the moon and promising not to eat someone alive. The surf-guitar riffs on ‘If Silence Is Golden, This is Fort Knox‘ are wonderfully sleazy and debauched, slipping into something that has a stuttered, sordid groove, whilst ‘Whiteboardsong‘ counteracts this and is more, strangulated, distorted guitars and messy cymbal crashes.
The rock-ballad baiting ‘Every Rose Has It’s November Rain (On A Prayer)‘ features a section I was expecting to hit much sooner, but when it drops around the 2.50 mark, thereâ€™s not much else you can do, but enjoy the drunken, slurred cry of “WE’RE HALFWAY THERE, WOOOAAAHHHOOOOâ€¦.” Which hilariously works, tacked on to the shambolic, punk-rock debauchery that preceded it.Â ‘A Little Less Sixteen Candles, A Little More Shut The Fuck Up‘ is a Fall Out Boy-baiting scrape of Times New Viking-esque noise rock, riding a wave of pop â€“ constantly skittering between the two.
‘Ghostcore‘ is a noisy scrawl of seedy, unstable punk rock thatâ€™s barked out with slacker precision â€“ Thermals, Brett Hunter and Marked Men fans apply right here.