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Volume 91, Issue 21
Thursday, October 2, 1997
CD review: Who pissed off smiley?
Can't Turn Back
Winnipeg punk/hardcore group Guy Smiley are pissed. Big time. And believe me, they will tell you all about it. From the very first song on Can't Turn Backuntil the last shout, the band plays aggressive punk rock and it sounds great.
Though I am not familiar with Guy Smiley, I was pleasantly surprised when I popped this beauty into the CD player. Out came aggressive guitar, angry lyrics and a dynamic rhythm section. What separates a good punk band and a great one is the rhythm section and it's mostly dependent of the drummer. Thankfully Guy Smiley skin man Ryan Francis is up to the task, bashing away with intensity.
The album rages against everything from their high school teachers in "Roll Call," to the Winnipeg Jets going to Phoenix in "The Canadian Way," yet the band is able to do it with a sense of humour. The lyrics of "Roll Call" highlight this; "...your drunken and disorderly/ But for the meantime/ You're on my time/ Wasted in my art class..." And "The Canadian Way" would make Don Cherry proud.
Guitarist Paul Stewart plays some incredible leads and is a solid rhythm player while bassist Jamie Fyles pounds away, locked into Francis' back beat. Vocalist Derek Kun isn't much of a singer, but in punk who is? He does a good job of keeping his vocal delivery powerful and aggressive and unlike some punk singers, it doesn't become annoying after the third song.
Other stand-out tracks on this album are "Everlast," "6" and "Counting," as well as the semi-mellow "Girl Guide." This album is chock-full of punk rock energy but with a great Canadian flavour that is refreshing. If you like this kind of music, give Can't Turn Back a listen you'll like what you hear.
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