Words by Brett Ensbey
It’s understandable if you’re feeling pretty down through these uncertain times. I know it’s important to try and remain positive, but I think you can be forgiven if the current situation leaves you feeling like everything pretty much sux at the moment. I know that’s exactly how I was feeling last weekend; we’re stuck inside while the world goes to shit around us, the virus we all joked about because it’s named after a beer has been declared a pandemic, you can’t go to Woolworths unless you’re ready to battle to the death for toilet paper, and our prime minister can’t seem to address the public without a stupid shit-eating grin on his stupid smug face. As hard as I tried, I couldn’t seem to shake the feeling that we were all doomed. Like it wasn’t going to be long before there would be rioting in the streets, as the impending rapture sends us further and further into a post-apocalyptic state. But then, something happened. Like a small ray of light shining through the eternal darkness, telling us that Armageddon has been cancelled, or at least postponed for a couple of days; on Saturday 28th of March 2020, Commissioner Bourbon FINALLY released the album that they’ve been promising us for the last two fucking years.
If you’re not familiar with these guys, I’m not going to tell you what to do with your life, I’m not your dad, but I highly recommend you do everything within your power to change that right now. Starting by reading this review of their latest offering ‘No Beer/No Dad’.
Commissioner Bourbon are a three piece, Melbourne based punk rock band, made up of Benjamin “Benny” Dolin on guitar and vocals, Scott Kennedy on bass and vocals, and Felix Thoran bringing the noise from behind the drumkit. There’s a lot I could say about these dudes, but for now I’ll stick to telling you that they’re an awesome band made up of equally awesome people, and I’m not just saying that because they gave me a free shirt the first time I met them, but it is a cool shirt, so thanks guys.
As the intro to the album’s opener, The Adventures of Johnny Green hits, the soothing chords and Benny’s raspy, melodic vocals almost lull the listener into a false sense of security before the hard hitting energetic style of punk rock that Commissioner Bourbon are known for kicks in and sets the pace for the rest of the album. As well as being a welcome distraction from everything going on around us at the moment, the band’s music also serves up a nostalgia hit from simpler times, with every song sounding like it should be featured on the ‘Punk-O-Rama’ albums we all used to know and love.
‘No Beer/No Dad’ delivers non-stop raw, catchy upbeat punk rock that’s not only in your face, but guaranteed to be stuck in your head for days after listening.
While staying true to their roots, Benny, Scott and Felix manage to showcase their broad range of influences throughout every track on the album. At times sounding like the illegitimate lovechild of Nirvana and ‘Dude Ranch’ era Blink 182, Commissioner Bourbon deliver an eclectic mix of 90’s skate punk, grunge inspired riffs played over distorted pop punk leads and even a few moments of ska.
Clocking in at just over 22 minutes long, what ‘No Beer/No Dad’ lacks in length it makes up for in energy. The whole album is as catchy as a pop album, except with more substance, screaming and swearing. There isn’t a single song that didn’t leave me eager to see it performed live. A perfect example of this is the song Friends, the standout song of the album in my opinion, which plays out like a drunken sing along at your favourite live music venue.
As I mentioned earlier, this album has been a long time coming and I was excited to finally find out if ‘No Beer/No Dad’ would live up to the expectations I had after spending the past three years listening to the band’s last release, 2017’s ‘Punching Darts and Breaking Hearts’ (which you should definitely check out if you haven’t already done so.) and I have to say it was everything I’d hoped for and more. There isn’t much more I can say about this album, apart from thank you to Benny, Scott and Felix. This album was completely worth the wait and couldn’t have been released at a more perfect time. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to listen to these songs without remembering that I first heard them at a time when I really needed an awesome punk rock album to help pull me out of the slum I was in. So, to anyone that isn’t already, do yourself a favour and get familiar with Commissioner Bourbon’s music. If you live in the Melbourne area, I can’t recommend enough that you go check them out live, and if you’re not from Melbourne, make sure you see these guys the moment you get the chance to, you won’t regret it. Hopefully they won’t leave us waiting another two years for their next release, which I’m already looking forward to hearing.
Check out the new album to purchase/stream and follow Commissioner Bourbon here: