By Sean Willett, September 11 2014 —
Self-described as “four women and a garbageman drummer,” The Lad Mags are a garage rock band from Edmonton that has hit the local music scene like a cobweb-covered asteroid. After releasing a handful of EPs over the last year, the band has put out a full-length self-titled cassette.
Composed of seven previously released tracks and one new song, The Lad Mags runs at a lean 18 minutes. Few songs make it past the two-minute mark, which works with the cassette’s wickedly upbeat sound. Driving, distorted guitar holds up most of the songs and creates a spooky, ’80s-Halloween-party vibe. “Dig My Grave” captures the haunted-house vibe perfectly, with lyrics such as “Your rattling chains put fire in my veins / so lay me down in the cold, dead ground.”
These lines are delivered with poppy vocals, but pair perfectly with the The Lad Mags’ darker melodies — a sound that manages to be equal parts vibrant and haunting. “Hypnotized,” the band’s newest track, encapsulates this tone beautifully. Layered fast-paced vocals, hazy guitar and borderline-terrifying lyrics like “don’t turn the lights out honey, ‘cause I know your home,” make the song a highlight of the cassette.
Unfortunately, devoted fans of the band may find themselves disappointed. With all but one of the songs previously released, there isn’t a lot here for someone who has been following the band from the start. But for newcomers itching to hear what all the fuss is about — and diehards looking to own the band’s first big release — The Lad Mags is worth tracking down.