Osker is surprising a lot of people these days. This very young band (singer/songwriter/guitarist Devon Williams is only 19) has just recorded an album so full of texture and emotion that it's hard to believe that a year ago, they were mostly known for fast & snotty anthems as well as the ability to piss off everyone around them including their fans, fellow bands, their record company, not to mention the entire nation of Canada.
"Idle Will Kill" is Osker's second album in as many years and the opening notes make it clear that they have no intention of being typecast as So-Cal Punk or anything else for that matter. "Patience, is nothing worth holding on to..." croons Williams over a backing of a lone acoustic guitar. Cascading piano chords, courtesy of bass player and key collaborator, Dave Benitez, help bring the song to a swirling, hooky finish less than 2 minutes later. This is a far cry from the almost Rancid-like thrash of their first album, "Treatment 5", but it works, both on their own terms and as Punk Rock. The album continues on a journey through many different tempos and textures all united by great songwriting and a fully realized interplay between the musicians. For pure melodic punk pleasure, try "Strangled", "Contention", "Out Of Touch", or the Cheap Trick meets Replacements anthem "Motionless". If you want noise and aggression, check out the feedback laden "Animal", or "Piece By Piece". Two of the best songs on the album, "Kinetic" and "Disconnect", are slower with layers of guitars and poetic lyrics. They show a growing sophistication in the band only hinted at on their debut.
Like so many before them, it was a sense of alienation that inspired Devon Williams and bassist Dave Benitez to form a band. "When you're young, everything is confusing," says Williams. "My high School days, like anyone else's, were very awkward. But sooner or latter everyone who is alienated finds a place to fit in. I wasn't into drugs, so I spent all my time on music" At age 16, Williams wrote songs dealing with teen angst that displayed a sense of perspective that you might expect from a 30 year old looking back on those years. That knowingness, combined with catchy tunes, aggressive energy and the tension-building melodic bass lines of Benitez led to their signing to Epitaph and their debut "Treatment 5." Despite the band's reputation for baiting audiences and starting trouble, "Treatment 5" was very well received by the punk rock community. The album also garnered critical praise for its sardonic wit and raw energy, which Kerrang praised as "being of the highest order".
After touring for a year with Millencolin, Guttermouth, Automatic 7 and others, the band returned to the studio with producer Mike Trujillio (Choking Victim, Leftover Crack) to work on their follow-up album knowing that they were not going to repeat themselves or do what's expected of them as a punk band. "I decided that it is about just doing what you want", says Devon, "while you have gallons of mohawks and leather jackets telling you that they do what they want, I don't believe them...I respect the person that says, "I don't care for that" because there is no extreme, it's pure sincerity. Punk is doing what you want despite the infiltrators, outside of the skateboards and shoes and hair and patches and the diets and the tattoos. I am Devon and I have 5 close friends, the rest of the world is divided into the helpers and the clueless."