By Luke Kokoszka
VANCOUVER — With a name like Jock Tears there comes a certain expectation of sarcasm and playfulness that is executed with meticulous intent on their recently released debut EP, Sassy Attitude. The cover image features vocalist, Lauren Ray, with a smiling, bloody face, and colours that evoke something more akin to bubblegum than punk. The cover image stretches its teal fingers into the songwriting and lyrics, which with one look at the titles, ignites a little nostalgia, a little accessibility, and a little satire.
In addition to vocalist Lauren Ray, the band consists of Lauren Smith on bass, Spencer Hargreaves on guitar, and Dustin Bromley on drums. Each member contributes to the collective introspective punk sound that embodies Sassy Attitude. With tracks that average around a minute, fifty seconds, there is not much space to grow the songs. However, the band seemingly makes this work through familiar punk formulas and lyrics that stun you with vivacious curiosity. When asked about song writing, Bromley explains, “I think L-Smith came to our first jam and exclaimed ‘I wanna play Ramones tunes,’ right before ripping into a bass-line strikingly similar to something you’d find on their eponymous debut.” The reference and similarities are apparent and Smith clarifies that furthermore, saying, “I love the vulnerability, accessibility, and sweetness of Dee Dee Ramone. They way he played the bass changed my life. Something that I think comes across in our music is the kindness and accessibility that is in the same vein as Dee Dee.”
The band emits an awareness of cultural progressivity in a sound that can easily be dated if done without merit. Hargreaves says, ”I love the social change that a lot of punk demands, but I don’t necessarily think the angry narrative does much good to the causes.” In addition to the inclusive nature of their sound, Ray’s lyrics bring the music full circle with satirical and honest lyrics. Ray says of her writing, “My song writing is nothing fancy or too serious. They are simply observations or real-life things that I have experienced and am trying to approach them with a sense of humour. ‘Homeless Kelly Kapowski’ is what someone told me I looked like. ‘rude dude” is clearly about people who have nothing better to do than be mean or judgmental and simplifying that. Like the name, jock’s have a certain connotation with being a bit tough (like punk music often is) and tears are what happens with one is feeling blue or sappy. I like to have bits of both in our music.”
Jock Tears will be releasing Sassy Attitude on tape October 7 at the Matador with locals The Jins and touring Winnipeg act, Basic Nature.BC, British Columbia, Jock Tears, Sassy Attitude, The Matador