The Kimberly Steaks – To Live and Die in West Central Scotland

By Samarth Kanal

Getting out of bed is a real chore sometimes, as is getting out of the house. Everything’s a chore actually. The Kimberly Steaks definitely know this. The Glaswegian punk band’s newest release, ‘To Live and Die in West Central Scotland’, is an album centred around lethargy and apathy. It’s fast-paced and infectious pop-punk, which also seems to be full of references to every TV show that the three-piece have watched.

Is it wrong that a clip from the BBC mockumentary, ‘Look Around You’ which starts the album should gain The Kimberly Steaks bonus points? No! In all seriousness, it shows that The Kimberly Steaks don’t take themselves all too seriously, which helps when making a record which is dotted with self-deprecating humour. ‘Wasted Days’ kicks off proceedings with some Mike Dirnt-esque bass riffs and and some treble-tinged guitar work, and ‘On My Mind’ can only be summed up as an homage to the greatest 90’s punk songs.

This record is swamped in lyrics about failure and hopelessness – “And the only real relationships I’ve had In the past five years have been with loneliness and alcohol” is just one of many – and yet it’s a really enjoyable album to listen to, constantly sounding upbeat and fast-paced. A downside of this is that a few tracks fade into obscurity due to that three-chord punk formula being used repeatedly in tandem with the lyrical theme of despair. Luckily, it’s well-produced and the songs rarely encroach over two minutes so things don’t drag on.

‘Fix My Head’ is the strongest song here, with the eponymous chorus and some great vocal harmony laid on top of a hyperactive guitar riff. It only lasts for 80 seconds but as Hank Scorpio once said, “Can’t argue with the little things, it’s the little things that make up life”. Finally, the album ends with “To Live and Die in West Central Scotland”, best described as The Kimberly Steaks version of The Decline. The acoustic segue in this five-minute swansong is really enjoyable – it’s a shame that a whole acoustic song didn’t make it into this record. The Steaks end with ‘Terminal Boredom’, the first track off their last EP which follows a sound clip of Bart and Milhouse from the Simpsons complaining about the length of the album. I don’t know why; it’s a perfectly cromulent record which is definitely worth downloading.

SAMARTH KANAL

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