You know that feeling when you drink too much coffee and you start shaking with weird, nervous energy that needs to be expelled?
That’s exactly the feeling Wasted Potential’s new album, Living Up to the Name, captures.
This deadly full-length by the Forest City five-some offers nine head rush-inducing hardcore tracks fused with pop punk harmonies and thrash metal riffs.
‘Living Up‘ is more crisp and clean than any of their previous releases. Guitarist Dustin Andrews attributes their bold sound this time around to Greg Hounsell mixing the album.
The tracks were recorded at The Sugar Shack studio in London. Wasted Potential’s drummer, Dustin Campbell, suggested they fire them off to his Brutal Youth bandmate to see how they’d turn out, said Andrews. They were pleased with the results.
“It was clean, it was punchy, the drums were huge, the guitars were loud,” he said. “It represented us as a band as closely as we could imagine.”
Hounsell’s penchant for hardcore and punk rock was beneficial in mixing the album, he explained.
“He just knew certain aspects of our band that just made us sound different than the previous mixes on our other records.”
A long time coming
The album was written over the course of two to three years, pre-recorded with Rob LoRusso of Red Arms, then finally at the Sugar Shack last summer. The title, Living Up to the Name, is a reflection on that.
“I don’t wanna say that we sat on our asses,” Andrews said. “But definitely, things sort of got sidetracked and took a while so we figured we were sort of being funny with Wasted Potential.”
However, Wasted Potential definitely haven’t been sitting on their asses – just on this album. Each of the members are also parts of various other bands (DYER, Talk Radio, Grievances, Never Betters, Snacks?, Nervousmen, Yeah Bud!, Almighty Trigger Happy, MOFX and Brutal Youth, to be exact).
Both the band and fans alike are glad Living Up to the Name finally out.
“We’re just really happy to get this stuff out into the world. We put a lot into the songwriting,” Andrews said. “We’re really happy with how Simon Larochette captured it, how Greg mixed it and how Stu McKillop arranged the recordings and mastered it.”
The whole album rips hard, but Andrews said his favourite track has to be their single, Never Asked, because it represents the full progression of the band – where they started and where they are right now.
“We started playing what I thought was just hardcore,” he said. “Then it was fused with a lot of pop punk then we slowly went more towards melodic hard rock songs, with punk undertones on there and the vocal melodies are just catchy.”
The tracks on ‘Living Up‘ are named after inside jokes and TV references. Weekend at Bernice’s is about crashing at their friend’s pad in Toronto when they go there to party. Curt Murder Face Rip is a shout out to musician and friend Curt Murder who gets his kicks out of thrash metal.
In many ways the album is just one big inside joke, made complete by the album art.
Fans might recognize the dapper young man on the cover of Living Up to the Name as Nate Craddock – the same child in figure skates boasting a medal on Wasted Potential’s self titled EP.
Craddock jokingly sent Andrews a childhood photo of himself wearing his favourite jacket and a look that could kill, suggesting it be the next album cover. Craddock didn’t expect Wasted Potential to run with it, but finds it hilarious they did.
“I’m just happy to be a part of something with my friends,” he said. “I like pitching in any way I can, whether it be slinging merch or raiding the family photo album for awkward childhood photos.”
The band gets a kick out of fans buying merch from Craddock, bearded and tattooed now, with no idea that he’s the youngster on the album. Craddock says his mom still has no idea the figure skating photo ended up on hundreds of 7”s (if you’re reading this Mrs. C, you should ask for a copy!).
One last hurrah… for now
Wasted Potential put a lot of work into this album, and it shows. It embodies the energy and intensity the band delivers live and is top notch from start to finish.
It’s a shame that for a band with such a unique sound, tight lineup and incredible stage presence, Wa-Po will only be playing a limited number of shows in the near future.
“People should definitely come and attend if they like our band cause I can’t tell you the next time we’re gonna come to your city,” said Andrews. “Whether it’ll be in half a year, whether it will be in two years, just come up and support us and see the next couple shows.”
The band has dates scheduled in Toronto, Oshawa and Ottawa in November and December, but after that, who knows?
Albums will be available at their shows and for purchase online as of September 30.
The record is also available online on their bandcamp page.
Ottawa @ House Of Targ – Dec 9th (W/ The Creeps)
Feature image by Christine Lortie