By Dale Platt
After losing two original members, it wouldn’t come as much of a surprise if a band called it quits. But in the case of Sixteen Scandals, it has simply served as the catalyst in the creation of their latest album, ‘Create // Destroy.’ Having a shifting line up since the release of their Ctrl, Alt, Detroit EP, the Toronto punks haven’t lost even a scrap of the raw energy that flows through their sound.
Opening the album with some throaty vocals and crunching guitars, ‘Pain’ serves up a taster as to what Sixteen Scandals are really all about. The band have often declared their simple desire to write these songs and blast them out in every sweaty little venue they possibly can. It becomes increasingly apparent how this particular ethos is the lifeblood of their sound, with ‘The Biking Viking’ offering up endless opportunities to shout out along with every word of the lyrics. Regularly switching between clean and your typical punk shout, there’s a chaotic ride that’ll surely demand multiple visits. As if to exemplify the point, Sixteen Scandals explore the addictive nature of what they do, with ‘Asshat (I Fucking Love It)’ bellowing out lyrics like “The crowd goes wild / My heart’s on fire / I’ll do this ’til I die”.
For a band who state their primary intention is to rampage and destroy while having a bloody good time in the process, Sixteen Scandals demonstrate their ability to change things up around the midpoint of the album. Brimming with a soaring chorus and catchy guitar hooks, ‘Eruption of Unproduction’ deviates enough from the opening style of ‘Create // Destroy’ to keep all of the attention firmly fixed on this rip-roaring release. Keeping up with the deviation from a typical punk rock formula, ‘Broko Ono’ throws out gang vocals and a catchy pop punk verse or two. Even with the track clocking in under the 3-minute mark, there’s still a mid-track breakdown which is certainly a lot more melodic than anticipated. Continuing with the experimentation of sound, ‘Time Vampire’ is both sombre and angst fuelled from one moment to the next. Quite cleverly, the lyrical content of your life wasting away with the daily grind is captured perfectly within the songwriting. From the sombre moments displaying the marginalisation of daily life, and then suddenly the explosion of sound captures the frustration and angst that boils up inside as a result.
It’s fair to say that even though Sixteen Scandals perpetuate the idea that it’s all about the energy and joy of being in a band, there’s clearly more at work here. With a deliberate attempt to make it seem like they aren’t even trying, it is easy to miss how the band craft different styles and sounds into every track of ‘Create // Destroy.’ Unlike other bands who claim the same thing, the passion that drive Sixteen Scandals seems to be wholly genuine and that is what really makes this album something of a rarity. With their feet firmly on the ground, the band have delivered an expertly crafted and balanced release in the form of ‘Create // Destroy.’