Thanks to torchbearers like Steve Adamyk and the White Wires Ottawa’s known for its melodic approach to punk: Wiry and garage-inflected it’s a style that replaced the Shotmaker-obsessed post-hardcore that dominated the city in the mid-aughts. And while Average Times — who just cut their debut LP on killer Toronto-based label Hosehead — don’t mess much with Centretown’s Dirtnap- and Burger-approved MO there’s no denying they’re working with a winning formula.
Their sonic approach shouldn’t come as a surprise. The band boasts members of Voicemail and Savage Crimes and like much of Ontario’s exploding garage scene the LP was recorded at Yogi’s Meat Locker which in recent times churned out First Base’s wonderful HoZac-released debut. Still for Average Times’ occasional musical forays — at moments they swing through vintage psych (the keys on opener “Popsicle”) and bass-driven fuzztone (“Wasted On Wine”) — the band’s sharpest when they settle into their forte: Mid-tempo punk anthems for the denim-vest set.
Accordingly the LP’s midsection — where the band seems to fall into a mid-tempo groove — hits hardest. Indeed any number of these tracks could stand as singles: The downstroked swagger of “Summer Nights” the beer-soaked slop of “On My Own” and the power-pop of “Glitch” are all album standouts. Yet the finest moment on the LP belongs to the one-two punch of “Snakes” and “She Knows” when at their apex Average Times come off sounding like Blood Visions -era Jay Reatard. And believe us that’s a compliment of the highest order.