Vinyl Vlog 437

Vinyl Vlog 437

Wednesday, 12 August 2020
“Quit This City” from the When The Day Is Done EP by Territories.

A deeper look at the grooves pressed into Territories’ When The Day Is Done 10” EP Work in the press long enough, and eventually one begins to rely on the complications that one finds with a release, because the difficulties in qualifying or quantifying the sound of an album (and the media – for that matter) become the fuel for for what makes that release good or not and why. It’s actually a really easy cheat which, now that I’ve gone public with the information, might get me thrown out of the Tastemakers’ Union (local 519, here) – but it’s information every music lover needs to know. By the same token, that’s the single greatest reason which makes Territories’ 10” EP difficult to review: there’s nothing complicated or unique about it, it’s just a good punk release which focuses on good songs and doesn’t bother with any of the calculated extra minutiae which – which are often just a distraction anyway.

As soon as a stylus catches the groove and opens the A-side of When The Day Is Done, with “Second Son,” listeners will discover everything they need to know about Territories: it’s speedy rock-punk (that is to say, “punk rock with a healthy helping of The Kinks frontloaded onto it) which never relents, but never gets so aggressive that listeners feel as though they might be overwhelmed either. Here, guitarist Jimmy Gamble and singer/guitarist Kyle Hegel re-think the poppy street punk mix they introduced themselves with through the release of “Short-Seller (well, sort of – the sound is similar to that release bu Gamble is new to the band) and focus more on a form of road-hardened rock-punk which marks a dramatic improvement. Likewise, the rhythm section of bassist Matt Young and drummer Eric Jablonski (while they were always solid) have settled in nicely, and really push the song along with an undeniable power which is confident but not frenzied. Simply said, “Second Son” is the ideal opener for this release, because it shows how well Territories have improved in such a short span of time – it catches listeners up and then sets them loose to discover the music.

After “Second Son” sets When The Day Is Done up, the band augments their sound a little for “Defender” (where the band lightens up on the overdrive and Hegel eases up on his performance a bit – his voice begins to more closely resemble that of Jason Mewes) before confronting listeners and totally smashing them in the face with the landmark “SOS”.There, all the things which could be great about Territories align as they find a song they can really inhabit and spit it brashly at listeners. Here, for about a minute and a half, Territories own listeners; the band captures them with a perfect chord progression with flawless changes and Eric Jablonski’s drums, which hit about as hard as a dead-blow hammer but leave listeners invigorated, instead of winded. “SOS” is, very simply the best way to close the A-side of this EP; that song is guaranteed to have listeners looking to the EP’s B-side for more.

…And on that B-side, “more killer, no filler” is precisely what they get. The side opens with “The Lockdown,” where the band laments the drudgery of a high school existence to tremendous effect, while “Welcome Home” changes up the running a little and focuses more undeniably on rock with a side of punk that punk with a side of rock (think like early Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers if they hit record the morning after they’d been in a bar fight). There, the bandmembers hearts are clearly displayed, but their knuckles are never far; it’s a remarkably sweet moment when Hegel commands “Give ’em hell” here.

…And after all the dust has settled, all that’s left is for Hegel to sing to the girl he loves to close out the EP, which is exactly what he does on “Quit This City.” There, it’s hard to know how hard the battle was which brought him to this point but, when he mutters lines like “Girl, I know you’re tired now, we both know I am too/ We got the kids and you’ve got me, and thank god I have you,” but there’s no question that he’s earned the moment; it’s perfectly cathartic in a way that other lyrics about past troubles just can’t quite manage – but the band has listeners locked in, regardless, and the hook in the song is that the song never explodes into a PUNK RAWK performance; sure – there are some backup vocals which fill out the mix and give the song an intimate quality and Jablonski’s drums do chip in a little support, but when Gamble and Young enter the song, they do so with a lighter hand and a tone which is closer to that of The Gaslight Anthem in their prime. The result is one that’s really, really easy to fall for, and leaves listeners cursing and aching for more because that, the needle lifts. There is no more, all one can do is play it again – and those who run top-to-bottom with When The Day Is Done will do just that, without a doubt.

The result of this EP is, without question, unbelievable. On your first play through, reader, you will not see it coming – I can almost guarantee that – but it will make a fan of you. As is easy enough to find online, most of the members of Territories long-ago cut their teeth on the Canadian prairie punk scene, with limited success. In a just world though, the When The Day Is Done EP should be their star turn; by rights, this EP should make Territories huge. [Bill Adams]


Territories’ When The Day Is Done EP is out now. Buy it here, directly from Pirates Press Records.

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