Release Date: Oct 7, 2014
Record label: XL
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Post-Hardcore, Garage Punk
In 2011, Single Mothers frontman Drew Thomson quit his band. Then 25, the Canadian moved from the college town of London, Ontario to a place called Swastika to pursue a career in gold prospecting. His fellow miners often smoked crack at work. Eventually, he returned to reignite Single Mothers and record a debut brimming with bile: students (‘Marbles’), drugs (‘Ketamine’) and human nature (‘Feel Shame’) are attacked while a torrent of hardcore guitars and drums connects with seismic force.
Single Mothers are full of negative qualities. Lyrically, it's obvious. But music—wise, it's totally the opposite. Remember "Winter Coats" from these dudes? One of the most jacked—up jams ever. That was the moment I fell in love with Single Mothers. Jeremy Bolm touted them as one of the most ….
Punk rock has always been rooted in anger, or at least petulance, but sounding convincingly angry at length has often been the Achilles' heel of bands whose rage just becomes cartoony after a spell. This is not a problem that troubles Drew Thomson; as the frontman with London, Ontario-based punks Single Mothers, Thomson doesn't sing so much as he rants, letting loose with a red-throated spray of invective as he goes off like a smart, bitter guy who has just finished his fifth cup of coffee and is about to tell anyone within earshot just how he feels. On Negative Qualities, Single Mothers' first full-length album (well, if you think 26 minutes is full-length), Thomson is revealed as a stellar frontman and lyricist, tossing out vivid images and lucid, pissed-off notions left and right, all punctuated with plenty of quotable one-liners, like "I need God about as much as She needs me," "If this is living the dream, just kill me," "This ain't a confession, it's a warning," and "At least I don't pretend my whole life's held together by bookends.
Another Saturday night, and the last thing Single Mothers frontman Drew Thomson wants to talk about is fucking Henry Miller. Yet, there he is, cornered by comp. lit. majors, prattling on about their vintage typewriters, their well-stocked bookshelves, and—horror of horrors—their theses. "I don ….
Single Mothers release their new album 'Negative Qualities' this week. Here's what we made of it. Look at that album cover! Strange, angry, primitive men beating seven bells out of each other in a place littered with booze bottles. It’s perfect for Single Mothers’ first album; a ragged, pissy, turbulent post-hardcore concoction that bleeds raw rock ‘n’ roll.
Press around Single Mothers' debut record routinely invites listeners to compare the band to the Hold Steady or the Replacements, situating the London, Ontario group in a tradition of smart, witty, Americana-tinged post-punk that they don't quite deserve. With Negative Qualities, Single Mothers' generic, ham-fisted approximation of the Swami Records catalogue has more in common with bands geographically closer, like the Dirty Nil or PUP, groups that have made it their mission to become punk's equivalent to a bar band. There's nothing wrong with being a bar band, but it's hard to not tune out when they get to playing their originals.