Toronto, Canada has given the world its fair share of exciting punk bands in recent years, from PUP to Fucked Up and The Dirty Nil, but it’s never produced one quite like THE OBGMs before. This band, who’s name stands for The Ooohh Baby Gimme Mores, began life as a rap group before picking up guitars and rising through Toronto’s booming punk rock scene. Having gained a reputation for their chaotic live shows, the four-piece are now preparing to release their self-titled debut on September 8th.
The record, mixed by the masterful Dave Schiffman, captures a raw seventies-garage sound whilst infusing a wide spectrum of influence. Despite this lo-fi production the hard-hitting rhythm section and razor-sharp vocals still pack a punch. What really sets The OBGMs apart though is an understanding of hip-hop’s bounce and their infusion of dance sensibilities. There aren’t many punk-rock records that are as likely to start dance-offs as they are circle pits. ‘Ijustwannaluvuallthetime’ sees frontman Densil McFarlane’s vocals riding over commanding drum beats in a way that’s reminiscent of his hip-hop origins, albeit with the addition of some harsh yells in the chorus. There’s a commendable level of restraint in the way that McFarlane dispenses his vocal capabilities on this record, allowing the quality of song writing speak for itself.
The OBGMs don’t hang around on this release, with its nine tracks clocking in at a mere twenty-four minutes, but it’s time enough for McFarlane to make a real impression. Every syllable he spits drips with punk-rock attitude and character with a distinct whiff of star power, whether he likes it or not. That’s not to discredit the band behind him, who showcase freneticism and dexterity in abundance. Just when you think you’ve got a handle on their sound they close with three minutes of folky post-punk in ‘Paranoid Paranoia’. A bold move that breaks the record’s frantic sense of pace but reveals the band’s well of influences to be deeper still.
They may not be the finished article just yet but on their debut release The OBGMs cement their place as an exciting force in contemporary punk. Their masterfully subtle employment of different genres places them on a tightrope between the underground and the accessible, not a bad crossroads for any emerging artist. By the time the last chord rings out one thing is made certain, the future looks bright for The OBGMs. Whatever they do next, you can bet it’s going to be impossible to ignore.