There is nothing holy about The Holy Gasp—they’re unholy in almost every sense of the word. And that’s why The Last Generation of Love is undoubtedly one of the best Canadian albums of the year.
The album sets this band apart from most other acts in the city. The Holy Gasp describe themselves as “Afro-Cuban psychedelic surf punk” and it’s a nice catchall for the band’s sound—lots of slick bass, full percussion, sax riffs and above all, Benjamin Hackman’s manic vocal style.
At its heart though, The Last Generation of Love is a protest album. Hackman et al don’t care much for the government (Hackman screams “Fuck you Rob Ford! Fuck you Stephen Harper!” in “Stomp Out the Man”) or for corporations (especially apparent “A Boy and His Pony”) or for mass media (the album’s title track) and this is the kind of protest we can all groove to.
It doesn’t take long to get immersed in this album—opener “The Man Ain’t Groovy” begins on a softer note but quickly turns into full-fledged chaos, and serves as a great primer for what’s to come. The rambling rant (set to a groovy beat) of the title track then gives way to what should be a Toronto national anthem, “Bedbugs.” The sheer intensity of the chorus is no doubt what residents feel when they get an infestation, and the verses keep up a slick bossa nova rhythm to for a great contrast.
“A Boy and His Pony” is a masterstroke of a song, stretching out past six minutes and seemingly uncharacteristic of the band—at least at first. It’s got a loping, organ-backed beat that makes it sound like a western, but the song slowly hints that not is all at it seems. The story begins with a man scheming to steal one pony, then all the ponies. Then it turns into a capitalist protest song before you’ve batted an eye.
“A Daily Affirmation” is no doubt the singalong song of the album, and it’s hard to resist singing “I can do anything good” along with the band. “All the Animals” will also wedge itself into your head thanks to the repetition, but it also manages to confound with lyrics like “All the animals must pay alms to the poor/And all the animals must drink dog piss and sell guitars.”
There’s not an ounce of fat to be seen here—just an astoundingly crazed and powerful collection of cohesive protest.
Top Tracks: “Bedbugs”; “A Boy and His Pony”
Rating: Hunting Call (Excellent) +*swoop*