Live Your Truth Shred Some Gnar is the new EP from Canadian band NOBRO and it is a flat-out masterpiece of full-tilt pop/punk-rock that somehow manages to smile and sneer at the same time it embraces life while also giving it the finger. The Montreal band’s name comes from a joke about rejecting offers from men to join their band; their answer: “No bro”. They are vocalist and bassist Kathryn McCaughey, guitarist Karolane Carbonneau, drummer Sarah Dion, and percussionist Lisandre Bourdages. Gender aside, you can either rock or you can’t and NOBRO rock hard in a punky place like they were born to do it.
The EP starts with a glorious misdirection by opening ‘Better Each Day’ as a Gospel song with the mantra “I spent my whole life running away; I think I like it better that way” before exploding into a pop supernova brimming with handclaps, power-chords, and rousing bursts of ‘La-La-La-ooh-ooh-ooh’s’. It also has the first of a set of stand-out guitar-solos peppering the EP that combine raw power with sweet tunes (think ‘Another Girl Another Planet’ or Paul Kossoff’s playing in the band Free).
The quality of songs on the EP could have you thinking that NOBRO have been around for years and this is a greatest hits compilation. Every track packs an all-you-can-eat-buffet into perfect bite-sized tracks that rarely hit 3 minutes. Each track is an anthem full of big chords, propulsive drums, and percussion (it must be one dented cowbell) and super-catchy hooks that must have audiences singing along. There’s “Oh she thought she could fly, but she fell from the sky” in ‘Julia’, the repeated chant of the title in the fast and furious ‘Eat, Slay, Chardonnay’ (a phrase for the ages and a damn good t-shirt slogan), “I’m so fucking broke” from ‘Not Myself’, the title shout of ‘Bye Bye Baby’, and ‘Get With You’ with its classic pop ‘ba-ba-baaahs’ over rippling drums fills and low slung bass reminiscent of ‘White Wedding’. Only the final track, ‘Life Is A Voyage’, allows you to cool down on this semi-unplugged track (recorded just before the magic mushrooms kicked in) which includes rehearsal chat before the song will implant the phrase “don’t trust a man that you meet in bar, living my truth while shredding some gnar” in your head.
We’re only in February and I feel pretty confident Live Your Truth Shred Some Gnar will be in my top 5 releases of 2022. This EP may draw water from the same well as Suzi Quatro, The Runaways, Plasmatics, or more recent acts like The Coathangers or L.A. Witch, with some Ramones, early Blondie and The Stooges in there, but NOBRO own their own destiny. It’s amazing to hear a band that have blended personality, attitude and songwriting talent into an exhilarating whole that rightly deserves to be a huge hit. Yes bro!
Review by Paul F Cook