Published Jul 01, 2006Light years ahead of the more face-first aggression of Sing for the Enemy, their debut EP, Toronto melodic punkers Hostage Life have delivered a fast, honest, and gritty kick to the balls in the form of Walking Papers. Kicking off the party with "We Will Make You Crawl, the band make their intent and methods clear: they will blow all of Torontos emo posturing out of the water, and they will do it with powerful sing-alongs, memorable hooks, and a beer in each hand. Far more melodic than anything the band have attempted previously, they sometimes sounds like theyre slipping into And Out Come the Wolves territory, with a mixture of poppy hooks and in-your-face shouting. The result is best demonstrated by songs like "Securing My Seat, which would have never had a place on Sing for the Enemy, and whose gently urgent opening builds into a crescendo that would make any fan of London Calling happy. With songs about trying to play music, trying to make money to play music, and trying not to get girls pregnant so you can keep playing music, its obvious that theres only one thing these guys care about, and it shines through on every track here.
Do you think the audience for legitimate, gritty punk rock in Canada is shrinking or expanding? Vocalist Colin Lichti: To be honest, Im completely out of loop in terms of what is popular in this musical subculture. All I know is that when we show up at a venue most, if not all, of the younger members of the audience have two different hair tones, and the rest of the bands play something closely approximating metal. There are a lot of bands playing the flavour of the month. There always is. But theres also a lot bands displaying originality, guts and soul.
With such a powerful design for the new record, how much importance do you place on the aesthetic of your work? Were extremely concerned with how we are portrayed and the art that is associated with our band. We were very lucky to have our friend Jesse Harris agree to create the artwork for the full-length. Jesse is primarily an installation artist, and uses a lot of found items. It was so inspiring and satisfying to see him creating an installation piece that will ultimately be mass-produced. Just the cover alone is brilliant. He actually put a seven-inch album through a printing press in order to create the image. (Underground Operations)