Long before they were gracing the Canadian airwaves with their radio friendly pop-punk tunes and touring with the likes of Sum 41 and Avril Lavigne, Gob were just an unknown up and coming punk band from Vancouver. Having inked a record deal with Landspeed, they released a self titled EP in 1994. Their first album, this here, titled ‘Too Late...No Friends’ was released two years later and was a breakthrough for the band, though not commercially, or even outside of Canada, but gained a solid fan following. They released another album two years later, but it was after that when they broke out commercially, getting more airtime and videos played. But backtrack again to ‘96 here, ‘Too Late...No Friends’ shows the band in its rawest form musically. Lead singer Tom’s vocals are raspier and snotty, the riffs aren’t as smooth, but the signature catchiness and humor of the band was still in tact.
A major difference from this work as oppose to the later days is the song lengths. With 20 songs and seemingly appearing to be a long record, only 3 songs pass the two minute mark, and just barely. As briefly stated before, the record has a rougher, unpolished edge compared to later woks, and this is partly do to the recording, which could have been better. The pop sensibilities are still evident on songs such as the opener Extra, Extra
and the Descendents-esque You’re Too Cool
, but cuts like Bad Day
will have you thinking twice whether it is the same band with it’s chanting “Oi’s”. The bands immature humor that gets them grouped with other pop-punk bands is present, and Marching Song
is proof of that. A clear filler song, it’s just a kazoo playing an annoying hymn repeatedly. And if any further proof is needed, just read some song titles: Censors
hit, Asshole TV, Fido Dildo, Lobster Boy, and etcetera, not to mention the actual disc has a picture of a toilet on it. But it’s all good immature fun.
‘Too Late...No Friends’ biggest flaw is propbably the lack of memorable songs. Many seem to run together, and it’s because there’s usually just a slightly tweaked riff or tempo altering them. But in the pack of songs, there are a discrete few that will catch your attention. Soda
, a summer anthem and one of their more known tunes, is a catchy yet agressive song built around a memorable guitar line. And the video for the song was pretty cool, if anyone can remember it. Asshole TV
is a more serious song, reminiscent of their next album, and has Tom using a more low-key voice with assisting backing vocals and driving guitar riffs. Fuck Them
is an almost identical song as the aforementioned, but still manages to standout, due to its notable bridge and cleaner vocals.
The lyrics central focus appear to be around mainly alienation (Leave Me Alone, You’re Too Cool), media (Censor***, Asshole TV), social awareness (Open Your Eyes), anger (I Don’t Know), just plain fun (Soda) and other similar common topics but there’s also the occasional girl song (I Want You Back Baby, Marlena). So it doesn’t win any points for originality but for what it is its tolerable, even if one entire song lyrics, as listed in the notes are “Excuse me, but can you uh, *** you”!
So Gob sure has come a long way since their debut album. They’ve since cut down on the number of song for albums, increased song length, and took a poppier, more appealing route, but it’s always fun to come back and see the bands beginnings. Too Late...No Friends’ by no means is a groundbreaking album, not even within the genre. There’s no amazing writing or musicianship, but it’s a fun and nostalgic album; plain and simple. And for those few highlights here, and the overall effort the band put, it is actually an enjoyable punk/pop punk album, even though it really isn’t for everyone, but what is.