Sound Advice: Cowards by Careers in Science
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Sound Advice: Cowards by Careers in Science

These local punk-rock funnymen show serious artistic growth on their newest release.

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One of the great things about local punk band Careers in Science is its sense of humour. The band does an amazing job of writing songs that are funny, but not zany or wacky. This isn’t Weird Al or Blink 182. Instead it’s wry, often self-depreciating wit set to a soundtrack of buzzsaw guitars.

“Back to Business” uses business buzzwords to talk about a failing relationship, and turns the should-be-dull line “I want to reinvest” into a shout-along gang chorus. “All Our Birthdays” is a frank discussion about the feeling that your youth is passing you by, using the phrase “really, really, really old.”

The highlight of the EP, at least lyrically, is “When We Have Money.” It’s a classic high-energy, Southern California-style pop-punk anthem about life in the service economy. The band members envision striking it rich and returning to their current places of employment to seek vengeance. (In this case, vengeance looks like closing a restaurant to take everyone bowling.) If you’ve spent any significant portion of your life holding down a crappy job, it’s pretty much guaranteed to strike a chord. (You can listen to “When We Have Money” by clicking on the sample above.)

Musically, Cowards is an impressive leap ahead. While the band is still firmly rooted in Descendents-style pop punk, there are some interesting post-punk influences that peek through here. “Back to Business” and “The Shape of Punk That’s Left” both have a sort of herky-jerky angularity that reminds us a little of Wire.

Careers in Science is made up of smart, funny guys who write smart, funny songs, but it’s also a band that’s not afraid to colour outside the lines in a genre that tends to be, somewhat ironically, bound to tradition. Cowards furthers our longstanding belief that this is one of the local acts worth watching.

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