Joe & The Shitboys want everyone to know that they’re from The Faroe Islands. It’s not because they have a wealth of national pride – quite the opposite – but there’s fun to be had with the rest of the world associating the very conservative nation with a vegan, bisexual punk band.
Growing up in a country that didn’t didn’t legalize same-sex marriage until 2016 and still has no laws about firing someone based on their sexual or gender identity, the band expected to be met with resistance. But things are perhaps starting to change – the four-piece picked up the Artists Of The Year gong at the Faroese Music Awards earlier this year.
Debut album ‘The Reson For Hardcore Vibes’ – which is finally getting a proper international release – is set to infuriate their remaining left-wing comrades, and any other small-minded people even further with their no-frills, maximum-glee punk.
Formed as a way to call out shitty behaviour in their local rock scene, Joe & The Shitboys are now out to take on the world. With a furious energy fuelling their debut album and their social media covered in catchy slogans – “Eat Ass Not Animals” – the band have no interest in subtlety.
With each song written in an hour, the whole album is urgent, wonderfully sloppy garage rock – the entire record clocks in at just over ten minutes. Short, scrappy anthems waste no time in taking issue with sexism, homophobia, people who eat meat, transphobes and general vibe killers. Throughout it all, the band apologises for nothing. Too bloody right.
The pounding ‘Macho Man Randy Savage’ sees The Shitboys coming for the small dick energy of toxic masculinity, with Joe singing “You slut shame ‘cos you got rejected, all women are bitches ‘cos you feel neglected,” while ‘Life Is Great You Suck’ is a party anthem that pushes back against the fetishisation of depression.
The record is driven by the desire to have a good time despite all the bullshit, and you can’t help but feel Joe & The Shitboys would rather live in a world where they didn’t have to fight for equality. On paper, songs like ‘If You Believe in Eating Meat, Start With Your Dog’ (a 23-second pro-Vegan rager) and ‘Life Is Great, You Suck’ sound combative (especially with lyrics like “Don’t kill yourself, just fuck off”) but there’s a wicked sense of humour behind every barbed attack. You can’t take a band who’ve written their own theme tune too seriously now, can you?
Over the top and cartoonish, their ‘Shitboys Theme’ sees the mob promising to fuck you up, and suck you off in a reversal of that over the top macho energy. “You just got sucked by The Shitboys,” sings Joe at the end of the track, doing his best Pro-Wrestler impression. Elsewhere the chaotic ‘Wonderwall’ isn’t a punk cover of the Britpop classic, but the churning, flailing freakout is the perfect song to have in your back pocket when some joker requests Oasis at a gig.
Excitable and sure of themselves, ‘The Reson For Hardcore Vibes’ sees Joe & The Shitboys capture the wonderful chaos of their live show without losing the impact of their progressive lust for life. It might not be the prettiest punk rock going, but it’s definitely the most fun.
- Release date: October 23
- Record label: Farmstead/Hot Rats