“My grades are secondary when my licks are legendary.” AHRF deliver that awesome flex midway through the aptly titled Bückle Up, the heavy and hilarious first cut of their dynamite debut album Extracurricular. And rest assured there’s plenty more when that came from.
Over the course of 10 fat-free, razor-sharp pop-punk and indie-rock nuggets, these smart(alec) Ontario post-secondary students channel the few highs and many lows of youth and youth adulthood — the fear and frustration, the bravado and bullshit, the pressure and parents, the dreams and drama, the disappointment and depression, the alienation and anxiety — into self-aware self-portraits of post-millennial life, online addiction and quarter-life crises. Trojan-horsing poignant personal reflection and social commentary inside their laugh-out-loud couplets and arena-sized riffs, numbers like I Hope My Degree Is Worth It, I’m Scared To Try New Drugs and I Thought I’d Be Famous By Now will ring true to anyone who’s ever tried to navigate life after high school (and played a gig where your parents were the only one in the crowd). Bottom line: Extracurricular is proof that youth is not always wasted on the young. And almost enough to make me wish I were young again. Almost.
THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “We’re AHRF, an independent rock band made up of Ontario post secondary school students and we just released our first studio LP. The main theme of this album has to do with the stress experienced when working towards a university degree. Our main inspiration comes from bands like PUP, Microwave and Sorority Noise, along with a variety of early 2000s Canadian punk bands. Our lyrics are poignant, sarcastic and self-deprecating focused on a feeling or a problem the narrator is struggling with. With everyone in the band graduating over the past year, the future is equally exciting and intimidating, a topic which is clearly demonstrated throughout the album. We’re proud to be known for our muscular choruses, blistering guitars, and an intense rhythm section. This album was self-recorded, produced, mixed and mastered at Raven Street Studio in Ottawa.”