When I finished listening to Hi Apathy for the first time, I went to Brutal Poodle’s bio on Spotify to learn about their background. As the intro track “Skyscraper” punched its way to my eardrums again, I read “envisioned in a parking lot and realized in a claustrophobic jam space,” and realized there was no other way I could describe the infectious punk band that is Brutal Poodle. Consisting of Karmin Poirer, John Johnston, and Dustin Bromley, Brutal Poodle have let their music punch and kick into the Vancouver punk scene with their debut album Hi Apathy.
What sticks with me while listening to Hi Apathy are the musical moments that add extra drops of detail and colour the songs on the album. These moments can be long, such as the breakdown in the entire second half of “Psychic War” that ditches lyrics in favour of letting the melodies do all the talking, and they can also be short, like the vocals letting loose on the chorus of “No Shape.” These moments are what tie this elegant ballet of distortion and angsty vocals together — creating the image of a dancer looking directly at you and winking mid-performance. Without them the performance would still be an impressive feat, but with them they turn a good performance into one that’ll stick in your head for days after the moment has passed, replaying in the brain over and over again.
To understand the rich layers of Hi Apathy, all one needs to do is look at its album cover. The dense guitars that riff throughout the album not only paint an image of pop-punk revivalists going ballistic at a local backyard show, but they also create the taste of the rich chocolate cake found on the album art. “Soft Swerve,” my favourite track on the album, serves as a moment of calm amidst the storm of fuzz and overdrive, and it fits in perfectly as the layer of vanilla icing directly in the middle of the half eaten chocolate cake. Karmin, John, and Dustin all take on the roles of both bakers and cooks on this album — in the sense that they use the science of baking to calculate just the right amount of grunge and pop to create something unique, and use the art of cooking to layer the album with the crunch of hard distortion and a rich presentation to create a local punk piece like no other.