Formerly known as pop punk favourites in St. John’s, Yee Grlz has dropped the pop from their sound on this raucous romp of eight 1-minute tracks.
In comparison to their breakout debut in 2016, there’s more of everything on Brainwashed. More energy, more distinction in their riffs, more of what made them standout in the first place with 2016’s Party Streak.
Brainwashed is less party, more punk. They’ve traded in the simple hooks of the pop-punk genre for a magnetism generated instead by sheer energy, killer riffage, and a greater cohesion among all instruments. In other words, they’ve grown into themselves as a band, as all good bands do.
The guitar and bass are pounding out energetic and attention-grabbing riffs, Catherine Roberge is a legit badass punk vocalist any band of this kind would hoist like a trophy, and Jess Barry’s bringing it on the drums, so much so that if the songs were any longer than they are, she’d blow a gasket.
All of this evolution is demonstrated in the opening track, “Dysplasia,” which demonstrates a band at home in its genre, and not just mimicking it. The intro riff and vocals are almost frenetic in their signature, and from there it pounds … pounding out any notion this will be another familiar punk album.
Speaking of roaring, “Freaky Friday” flirts with metal to get its hooks into you, and “Cave Summer” will punch you in your face if you don’t listen to it. The album is a banger, short enough at 10 minutes and 12 seconds long to justify wanting to leave it on repeat. Here’s a gritty standout, “Imposter Syndrome.”
The future is bright for Yee Grlz, and the punk scene is all the better for them. Few bands have grabbed as broad a spotlight or interest in the genre as Yee Grlz has in the last 2 years, and on Brainwashed they prove it’s not my-friends-are-so-great hype, but sheer musical chops.
Brainwashed just set a bar for any local punk albums to follow it in 2018.