Describing a band as ‘loud’ these days is a trendy and often misleading trope. Any band that features an electric guitar is susceptible to this label but not many truly deserve it. Toronto’s Worst Gift, however, is without a doubt loud.
Shitty Loser Riffs is their first release and the four-song effort serves as great jumping off point for a band whose sound has limitless aural possibilities. The title is a misnomer, but it speaks to the feeling that Worst Gift has only just scratched the surface of their potential.
The opening track, “Immoral Inventory (Life as we Blow It)”, is a plodding meditation on the impact of colonialism on Canada’s indigenous population. With all three member sharing vocal duties and the music eventually exploding into thunder and chaos, Worst Gift manages to capture the anxiety and horror that goes along with the song’s subject matter.
“Meowing as a Contribution” showcases Worst Gift’s ability to hypnotize. The controlled groove and three-part vocal chants suck you in and leave you wanting more as the song crashes to the finish line. Worst Gift are at their best when they allow their songs to breathe, which is why the only inessential track on the album is “Waking Up Bummed After a Sweet Jet Pack Dream” serving as a quick adrenaline boost before the grand finally, “C.H.U.Dgment Day”.
With Shitty Loser Riffs, Worst Gift conjure something much more alluring and powerful than many of their ‘loud’ local contemporaries. They intentionally avoid boxes and leave you feeling that they are reaching for something cosmic, or at least something a little less shitty.