REVIEW: The Shorty Tubbs Split EP Masters of the Alphabet

Reviewed by Mario Breau 

Bearing the amusing title Masters of the Alphabet, this EP is a split release by local bands The Shorty Tubbs, Young Satan In Love, The Trick, and Motherhood. A newcomer to the Fredericton area myself, I’m considering this something of a crash course to this branch of the indie music scene.

The Shorty Tubbs start it off with some frenzied vocals in Way Too Wet. Mick Brockton, while not a very technically skilled vocalist, sure puts some life into those lyrics; that level of enthusiasm and energy is always admirable. And it’s not just the vocals: the whole band really nails that lively garage rock sound with the harmonies and crunchy guitars.

The same track also shows another side of the band as it wraps up with a touching acoustic section, a sound which also returns to close the EP, with the more relaxed and ballad-like Textual Healing. All in all, they’ve got a knack for creating a whacky, all-over-the-place kind of punk sound.

Next is Young Satan In Love with, uh, Young Satan In Love. The song is a essentially a musical conversation between character Hecubus and good ol’ Satan (I’m assuming it’s actually Satan; you can’t mess around with that stuff, man). You don’t really hear much surf rock these days, but apparently The Wicked One has varied taste, and chose to go a little retro on this track. At around three quarters of the way through, we also get a little musical theatre-style break, which fits well with the dialogic lyrics. The effect of this actually makes it my favourite part of Young Satan’s contribution to the EP.

The Trick offers us the only sample of electronic rock on this EP with Confessional at the Frisky A Go Go. We’ve got a drum loop, a synth organ solo, and some reverb, among other things, creating a soft atmosphere. Unfortunately, this song doesn’t manage to stand out except for its unexpected opening.

Now it’s Motherhood’s moment–and they pretty much kill it. The rough and raw vocals of a quite possibly possessed Brydon Crain ride a slow dirge, built with heavy guitar, an old piano, a rock organ, and hard drums. It all sort of reminds me of Ben Caplan, but significantly more deranged. The incredibly powerful performance combined with strong lyrical content assures me that this is most definitely a highlight of this EP.

And there you have it, ladies and gentlemen: a taste of local indie garage rock. This handful of local bands offers this newly recorded material to us as a free download; listen, and share if you please.

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