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Ninja High School

Ninja High School - Young Adults Against Suicide

Young Adults Against Suicide
Blocks Recording Club - 2005

Michael Panontin
Billing themselves as a "positive hardcore dance-rap band from Toronto", Ninja High School and their raucous and rough-hewn mix of indie punk and hip hop first surfaced in 2004 with their lo-fi We Win EP (Blocks). Formed in the early zeros by Matt Collins, the band would spend much of their brief career in the shadow of the Go! Team and their unique melding of seemingly disparate black and white musical idioms. But NHS gathered some steam on the strength of the EP, a limited seven-inch the following year for Tomlab's valiant Alphabet Series, and a string of their notorious high-energy live shows.

The full-length Young Adults Against Suicide takes the infuriating self-importance of "real hip hop" and tosses it all out the window. This is a record rife with the sort of pimply, basement jacks that made the Beasties or Black Flag so engaging. Add to that the migraine-inducing cacophony of Public Enemy and some pepped-up Go! Team cheerleader sing-alongs, and the result - at least on the finer moments of what still feels like a rushed, uneven affair - is a blast of pure, hell-raising, barn-burning abandon. Especially cool is the penultimate track 'Invasion Party / Stop Lying', three minutes of sheer party-down fun that is sure to have you reach for the repeat button.

Alas, NHS bade the world farewell with their final gig at Toronto's Sneaky Dee's club on December 13, 2007. For those anachronistic souls who still actually purchase CDs (bless them all), the Blocks version contains an extra track, while the colourful Tomlab cover art wins hands down.


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