Review: Drinking Boys and Girls Choir – Keep Drinking
Before diving into an album named Keep Drinking, you should already have a sense that you’re in for a good time… especially if the band who made the album is called Drinking Boys and Girls Choir. After all, any album that starts off with a track called “Keep Drinking!!” and ends with “KEEEEEEP DRINKING!!!!” has to be a winner, right? Luckily, this is one of those cases where expectations and reality thankfully align. Keep Drinking is one of the most energetic, carefree albums of the year.
As Daegu skate-punk rockers Drinking Boys and Girls Choir (DBGC) gleefully rip through their 18 racing tracks, you’ll barely find any time to catch your breath. Nearly every song is laced with an adrenaline shot straight to the heart–DBGC divebombs headfirst into the pavement with ripping guitars (Bondu Seo), violently crashing drums (Myeongjin Kim), and ironically sweet vocals from bassist/vocalist Meena Bae. That’s the running formula for most of the songs that you’ll find here. “Red Shift,” one of the album’s highlights, is the prime example for how it works. Packed with frenetic guitar solos and some nice back and forth between Bae and Seo, “Red Shift” is filled with so much violently happy energy that it could probably single-handedly power a generator.
The rest of Keep Drinking is made up of tiny vignettes–there’s barely enough time for a song to take shape before DBGC abruptly switches gears. But that’s not a bad thing: some of the very best songs off of Keep Drinking are barely over a minute long each (“The Choir”, “National Police Shit,” both versions of “Keep Drinking!!”). DBGC manage to make even the smallest moments count. It’s also worth noting that Keep Drinking, in all of its punk glory, has a few pockets of calm as well. “Stay Here” finds the trio temporarily trying out beach reggae as a genre before they hit you with another whirlwind of guitar chords. “Let Me Lost” is calming and near acoustic, demonstrating Bae’s sweet singing voice sans drums. “Just Fucking Me” is melodic and less aggressive than you might think.
Not surprisingly, the most memorable songs that are on the album are the ones centered around the most catchy titles. Unless you can speak Korean, “I’m A Fucking McDonalds” can be quite the enigma, but damn if it isn’t fun to sing. “I’m A Fucking… McDonalds” the band ominously repeats, as if you’re supposed to know what the hell that means. The same goes for singalong song “Oh My California,” where the trio repeat the titular phrase over and over again throughout the entirety of the song. Bae’s, Seo’s, and Kim’s joyously added YEAAAAAAAAAAHs are also a bonus delight, spicing up all the parts of the album.
But of course, that leaves the choir part–you, the listener. As an album that’s meant to be played loudly after you’ve already downed your fourth (or fifth beer), Keep Drinking is one that welcomes audience participation with open arms. Songs like “Song of Sincerity,” work best when the entire bar chimes in and sings along. “KEEEEEEP DRINKING!!!!” also plays by those same rules, serving as a giant room-wide “CHEERS!” as the album ends.
That being said, Keep Drinking isn’t the most sophisticated or complicated album. Even though it has such short songs, 18 tracks can drag on a little bit too long if you’re not in the mood. Some of the songs also follow the same marching drum pattern and song structure–“Fluorescent Light” and “N3,” for example, sound very close to each other. However, Keep Drinking isn’t trying to break any new ground or potentially be something that it’s not. It’s an album that’s meant to be played as loud as humanly possible without a care in the world. And of course, it’s the guaranteed weapon of choice for a boozy night out.
Li-Wei Chu is the chief editor of From the Intercom. When he’s not editing drafts and searching for new artists to cover for the website, he loves watching cult films, cooking, and listening to his ever-growing collection of vinyl records. You can follow him on LetterBoxd and make fun of his taste in movies here!