If Québec City’s hardcore punk band Gerbia is as dedicated to failure as the title of their latest album would suggest, then I can say with certainty that they’ve failed to show their dedication. Voué à l’échec, the band’s follow-up to their 2006 album Péladeau au Bûcher, embodies a lot of the aesthetic and lyrical clichés that have come to be associated with punk rock, from the collage album cover juxtaposing a rich white man next to a starving child and a row of riot cops, reminiscent of Crass and the Dead Kennedys, to songs about spending your rent money on booze (“Boire le Loyer”) and refusing to bathe (“Ch’pue pis j’m’en Fous!”).
But these nihilistic and anti-social characteristics, too often used by conservative parents to stereotype punks over the past thirty years, are balanced out with thought out criticism and attacks against the music industry and so-called punk bands who mistake fashion for a political statement (“Punk Rock?”), promotion of an independent and DIY music scene (“La Mutinerie”), as well as a good ol’ fashion critique of consumerism (“Les Surconsommatosaures”). Clearly, everyone from drunk punks to more political punks will be able to get something out of this record.
Lyrics and album art aside, I don’t doubt that Gerbia would be able to hold their own against classic hardcore punk bands like Bad Brains, MDC and Black Flag. Had they been around in the 80s, kids would still be wearing their shirts and filling their set lists with awkward covers. With the exception of the shortness of the album (it clocks in at a grand total of 25 minutes), there is nothing lacking from Voué à l’échec. With the recent announcement that Gerbia will be working on a 7-inch, it looks like we won’t have another long wait as long for more material.