The OBGMs Offer an Undiluted Punk Manifesto on 'The Ends'
Published Oct 28, 2020The OBGMs' version of punk is one of unadulterated confrontation and catharsis, a visceral response to contemporary life, the durability of conditioning and the crippling effects of dualism.
The follow-up to their 2017 debut, The Ends opens with "Outsah," a riff-y and atmospheric grunge track, with Densil McFarlane's mix of guitars, Joseph Brosnan's bass and Colanthony Humphrey's drums driving the onslaught, and McFarlane's screaming vocals conveying a sense of explosive urgency. McFarlane snarls and shrieks on "Cash," the tuneful chorus reminiscent vocally and melodically of David Bowie's "Suffragette City." "Triggered" is an adrenalized holler-fest accompanied by a bulldozer alloy of straightforward instrumentation. "Karen O's" brings to mind the heavier side of Jane's Addiction. The album's closer, "Move On," is a blistering anthem, a pop-sensitive melody buried alive in a palimpsest of saw-toothed guitars, sledgehammer bass and jackhammer drums.
The OBGMs' primary debt is probably to Bad Brains, though one can also detect the impact of Public Enemy, Rage Against the Machine, Living Colour, Bleach-era Nirvana, and the classic punk lineage – Sex Pistols, Clash, Black Flag, et al. That is to say, the OBGMs have absorbed and reconfigured the work of their progenitors, crafting their own amalgam of guitar-driven punk. Rather than tackling specific issues via accessible lyricism, McFarlane tends to use his voice instrumentally – tonally more so than verbally transmitting rage, sorrow and indignation, as well as a volatile sense of ambivalence.
The Ends is founded on that perennial blend of confidence and self-loathing, a paradox that seems to be part and parcel of most successful punk rock. The directness and propulsive nature of the album serves as an undiluted manifesto — about Blackness in the Western world, and about an individual navigating the hard lines of groupthink – a punk purge during the age of division. (Black Box)