Riptides Hang Out

Riptides Hang Out
Reviving the true essence of grassroots punk rock, much like Hamilton, ON counterparts the Vapids, Ottawa’s Riptides release Hang Out, a decidedly Canadian twist — "Gabba gabba, eh?!” — on the four-chord, moderately poppy barrage of punk’s earliest days. Inspired and propelled by the genre’s definitive down-picking guitar, Hang Out’s tunes feature simplistic, albeit catchy, riffs, singer Andy Vandal’s smooth shifts between nasal pop and throaty growls, and tight, forthright drumming. Still, despite having their feet firmly entrenched in the core of their beloved scene, Hang Out finds the band testing various waters, evident on tracks such as "I Wanna Riot,” an expletive-laden, hardcore-ish rant against everything. The end result breeds familiarity and nostalgia while providing punk rock variety with eyes pointed forward. There is an unmistakable passion in the delivery that gives decided levity to each tune, as opposed to the "let’s sound like the Ramones” laxness that has rendered many counterparts listless. Uncomplicated, sincere and upbeat, Hang Out proves that in a day and age when punk rock’s identity crisis has hit new highs, the decided lack of gimmicks can be one itself. With the Riptides however, it is most certainly the truth. As well, having special guest Joe Queer on "China Doll” is somewhat of a treat, given that his is an obvious inspiration for these four goons.

The Riptides are pretty adamant about having "no gimmicks.” Andy Vandal: We have no open ears for a critique of how we should progress because this band is for us only. More important than any flash-in-the-pan money or fame is that when I look back in 20 years I see a crop of albums I can be proud of, not a band that changed with every trend. To go that way is to lose integrity. You can’t be proud of yourself when you’ve compromised. Some bands get together with an agenda but art and commerce are the worst bed-mates. To unite for the sake of success is contrary to what a band should be or how music and art should be created.

How has that determination affected your sound over ten years? I don’t think it has… well, maybe we’ve regressed proudly. All we care about is that these are songs we’ll enjoy and aren’t embarrassed by years from now or when we play them night-in, night-out. We’re not conscious of anything around us. We’re oblivious to that and what labels would be interested in. You should never be ashamed of what you like to do. We never thought we’d get so far as to tour with the Dwarves or the Queers. It’s working for us, so why fix it? (Union)