Montreal power pop quartet BBQT pack the sounds of summer into a catchy five minutes on their second EP, All Dressed. The June release is a delightful example of the fuzzy, lo-fi surf punk slowly washing across the DIY scenes of North America, putting a Canadian twist on the California-born genre. Guitarist and lead vocalist Amery Sandford’s voice is cotton candy layered over the garage noise supplied by bandmates Jack Bielli (guitar and backup vocals), Mikey Melikey (bass and backup vocals) and Allison Graves (drums), skillfully mixing sugary pop with grungy punk.
All Dressed leads with a cute pun on short shorts and tall cans with “High Wasted,” an ode to summer romance that showcases their knack for writing solid pop songs with minimal but punchy lyrics. The band stumbles a little with “Too Late,” which amps itself up only to end too soon. But BBQT gets back up again with a slowed-down third track, “Hawaii.” This island-themed tune gives listeners a brief pause in the middle of the short, fast EP with its dreamy escapism and a sound that recalls the Beach Boys as much as it does contemporary surf punkers like Best Coast or The Frights.
The real joy of the album, however, is “Your Band,” a playful track that strikes a great balance between the fast noise and sleepy beach vibes heard on other parts of All Dressed. This song delivers a well-melded and perfectly paced close to the EP. The lyrics tell of a first date turned music critic,“You met me outside in your sports jersey / Said he didn’t like BBQT”. Through these tongue-in-cheek lines sung with a heavy dose of irony, the band pulls off the tricky task of being self-referential without sounding self-important.
All Dressed’s bite-sized playtime leaves you wanting more, but the four songs are substantial enough to hold up to repeat listens. Even in the rainy grey of autumn, the bright tunes feel like the lazy warmth of the summer sun.