Album Reviews

“Full of It” by Summer Cannibals

Rating: 7.5/10

A four-piece coming out of the Pacific Northwest, Summer Cannibals just released their third LP, Full of It. Don’t feel bad if you’ve never heard of them before, now’s the perfect time to get acquainted.

They could be a new name to you. Their first two records came out on small indie labels and had had limited distribution at best; previously, your best bet at finding the group was through social media or Bandcamp. But in the three years since they released their debut record, the band’s made a name for themselves in Pacific Northwest circles and picked up accolades from acts like The Thermals.

On Full of It, Summer Cannibals start off with crashing guitar chords and drum rolls, rip through 11 songs in just over half an hour and finish in the grungy “Simple Life,” where vocalist/guitarist Jessica Boudreaux sings and sneers. Let’s dive in, shall we?

The album opens with the driving rocker “Go Home.” “I wanna see things,” sings Boudreaux, “the way they they’re supposed to be,” against the band’s driving rhythm section. As they kick into the chorus, their twin-guitars crash and she shouts while the back harmonizes behind her. When Boudreaux sings, she sneers; when she plays her guitar, her leads crackle with energy. 

Indeed, the whole record sparkles with their energy. They don’t always press forward at full tilt, but throughout their music presses forward. On songs like “I Wanna Believe” or “Talk Over Me,” Summer Cannibals build up the tension and explode into in the choruses. 

But even when they’re not going at full speed, the band packs more kick into their songs than some artists can over a whole record. On “The Lover,” they lurch and push through the verses and crash into the chorus with a wave of distorted guitars and cymbal crashes; on “Make Up,” Boudreaux sings over the rhythm section before they kick into gear on the chorus: as she shouts “I know you wanna take it away!” the guitars ring into feedback and the drums crash.

As much as Boudreaux and rhythm guitarist Marc Swart’s waves of distortion dominate the record, the rhythm section of Devon Shirley on drums and Jenny Logan on bass are what propels this record. Shirley’s basslines don’t just keep the guitars anchored, they just as often act as another voice: there are more than a few moments where it’s just Boudreaux singing over the bass. And Shirley’s drums crash and bang, propelling the band along with simple, driving beats. I haven’t seen ‘em live yet, but I bet they’re great on stage.

But really, the key to what makes Full of It compelling is Boudreaux, whose songs have a dash of outspoken politics, a self-aware sense of honesty and occasionally a sly sense of humor. When she sings lines like “At least we know that / it’s always somebody else’s fault,” it drips with irony; when she sings “I talk vague and sing in code” at the album’s close, you get a sense of what she means when she sings about “A simple life and a simple home.” 

Over the past couple decades, there’s a long history of loud, brash music coming from the northwest United States, especially from indie labels like Kill Rock Stars. It’s no coincidence the label that released seminal records by female-centered bands like Sleater-Kinney, Bikini Kill or Quasi. I’m not saying Boudreaux is exactly a Corin Tucker (yet, anyway), but Full of It adds nicely to the tradition. 

About author

Roz Milner is a journalist at Live in Limbo. They are a freelance writer and media critic who's writing has appeared on Bearded Gentlemen Music,, The Good Point and elsewhere. @milnerwords on Twitter.