Excellent Canadian punk rock band alert! We have yet another one! Liver are a five piece band from Toronto who formed in February of 2014. Consisting of Sam Sholdice (guitar/vocals), Michael Fong (lead guitar), Alex Dametto (bass/vocals), Kerri Silva (drums/vocals) and Emmett O'Reilly (guitar/vocals), the band released their debut album Capital through Be Nice Records on the 3rd of May. I'm lucky to have many friends on Facebook with wonderful taste in music so when I saw one share Capital I gave it a quick listen and really enjoyed what I heard. It instantly found its way onto my review list.
Capital's opener is named New Apartment. It begins with some playful but slow guitar playing before really launching into the song properly. I really liked how the song began in such a gentle manner before coming to life. The first thing that really struck me about Liver's sound is Sam Sholdice's gravelly vocal. It really has an inviting quality that makes me want more and more. Musically Liver describe themselves as a mix of garage punk and grunge but for me, on this track at least, I'm thinking more of a mature gruff punk sound. But it's all just labels really. Whatever it is, it sounds superb. On the second track, Grey Wolf, I definitely see the grunge side of Liver's sound come in. There are some crunchy and distorted guitars accompanying Sholdice's gravelly vocals. I think that the track is about dealing with some mental health issues, in particular feeling like you are being chased or hunted all the time. The song builds nicely towards its big finale with some simple but really effective guitar work and drumming as well as Sholdice's vocal being completely captivating. The third song, Little Giants, is about those films you watched when you were young that shaped the way you see the world today. This track really caught me on the chorus, it's one that you can't help but want to sing along with. I also quite enjoyed the breakdown that builds up brilliantly to one final big chorus complete with some superb harmonies.
Capital's fourth song Live And Work Hard was a big stand out when I first listened to it. This is Liver's working class barroom sing-along song and I love it for that. It's about working hard all your life and feeling like you've missed out on some experiences. The entire song is a big anthem from start to finish. There's an interesting section midway through the song that had me thinking that the song had finished, the music drops out and a higher pitched vocal comes in. This vocal gradually flows back into the gravelly style we know and love however. This was a really nice touch that broke up the song and set us up nicely for the big ending. If Women Don't Find You Handsome is the title of the fifth song. This is a slower song with an insanely catchy chorus of "we're all in this together." You will be singing along with Liver on this song before the song has even finished its first play. This feels like another barroom sing-along, the type where you throw your arms around your best friend or the complete stranger next to you and shout as loudly as you can back at the band – one of those magical moments. Northwest Passage is one of Capital's slower and chilled out tracks. Sholdice's vocals are still at their gravelly best and he leads a rousing sing-along but the song never quite explodes into life like you might be expecting. Musically the song is so atmospheric, I just found myself completely mesmerised by it.
The seventh track on the album is titled Drivin' On Goddamn No Sleep and is about late night drives where your passenger falls asleep and leaves you to stay awake by yourself. This is another slower song with Liver in a retrospective mode. There are some sections towards the end of the track where more passion seems to enter Sholdice's vocal, this adds some brilliant urgency into the song. I really enjoyed the siren like opening of the next song, Sister. It's one of the longer intros on the album. It doesn't really build towards anything but just opens the song up before the vocals come in. Sister is a bit of a plodding grunge song. The guitars in particular are a highlight on the track with the lead and rhythm guitars working together wonderfully. The penultimate track on Capital is called Provincial Drivers. This is more of a slow paced rock song with a simple chorus that drags you in. It never really hits any mega highs, it just trundles along and a gentle pace. On Capital Liver have proved they have the ability to let loose and rock hard and fast or just display a more relaxed and chilled out style, either way they are great. Last up is the song Pissin' Cold. I'm quite happy to see Liver have reverted back to their more punk rock sound on this final track, making sure Capital is finished with a bang. It features all of my favourite things about Liver – superb guitars, Soldice's harsh and gravelly vocal and some big, sing-along moments. What a fantastic way to finish off their debut album.
For me Liver came very much out of nowhere and shocked me with this superb album. Capital is an album that's very difficult to box in any particular genre as Liver display a few different influences and styles throughout the record. No matter what style they're playing, they do it so well. Capital is a fantastic album that needs your attention.
Stream and download Capital here: https://livertheband.bandcamp.com/album/capital
Like Liver here: https://www.facebook.com/livertheband/
This review was written Colin Clark.