It’s been great seeing Drinking Boys and Girls Choir‘s popularity grow with the help of Damnably. It’s a strong sign that collaboration is necessary to bring independent bands into the sight of international audiences. After 2018’s Keep Drinking, the band released a few singles before presenting their second full length. Marriage License follows their first album but also shows a lot of growth with 11 songs that revisit their punk rock origins while also moving into other rock genres.
I went back to Keep Drinking to see if there was a drastic difference between albums, and the one thing that sticks out is that the band has a different level of polish. “Limitless Night” contains the same powerful and fast punk rock instrumentation to open Marriage License while offering half-time vocals. This was heard on Keep Drinking, but it’s more prominent here. This continues on “Odoby” with melodic vocals sliding over the energetic instrumentals. I like the song, but the vocals seem to lack some energy with how they’re mixed.
“There Is No Spring” sounds more natural. The tempo is reduced a little but grabs the core Drinking Boys and Girls Choir style. It’s a break from the faster tempos and offers a more comfortable and relaxed style. “Time” explores melodic punk with an early break. The vocals sound more natural and fixed to the instrumentals than sitting in a higher place in the mix. While not one of Drinking Boys and Girls Choir’s faster songs, “Time” is among my favorites on Marriage License.
If you want the straightforward skate punk Drinking Boys and Girls Choir are known for, listen to “Attention” and “Hit the Corner” and you get exactly what you’ve been missing. The buildup in “Attention” slowly creeps to an explosion in the middle of the song with a reset 3/4 of the way through. Since the song is only 1:37, it moves quickly and then bridges into “Hit the Corner” which is a bit more garage punk rock.
“Secret Revenge” is also pure Drinking Boys and Girls Choir. If you’ve never heard the band before, this might be the best single to get up to speed. Then with “My Second Universe,” Drinking Boys and Girls Choir hint at their potential soundscape moving forward. I think that Drinking Boys and Girls Choir aren’t going to stick inside skate and pop punk forever and this is the best tease. That said, I don’t think they’ll leave punk rock, and “I Am Not a Machine” proves that point.
Marriage License is a very solid second album. It highlights the best pieces of Drinking Boys and Girls Choir from Keep Drinking and their explorations into tangent genres. There are points where the song mix feels a little artificial, but those early misses are quickly forgotten as you move through the album. Marriage License is not Keep Drinking 2.0 and that’s the best move possible.