Published Feb 14, 2007Reviving the true essence of grassroots punk rock, much like Hamilton, ON counterparts the Vapids, Ottawas Riptides release Hang Out, a decidedly Canadian twist "Gabba gabba, eh?! on the four-chord, moderately poppy barrage of punks earliest days. Inspired and propelled by the genres definitive down-picking guitar, Hang Outs tunes feature simplistic, albeit catchy, riffs, singer Andy Vandals 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 "lets 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 rocks 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 cant be proud of yourself when youve 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 dont think it has well, maybe weve regressed proudly. All we care about is that these are songs well enjoy and arent embarrassed by years from now or when we play them night-in, night-out. Were not conscious of anything around us. Were oblivious to that and what labels would be interested in. You should never be ashamed of what you like to do. We never thought wed get so far as to tour with the Dwarves or the Queers. Its working for us, so why fix it? (Union)