With first lines of the album, “I’m on way to bigger and better days” it’s clear that the Doughboys (John Kastner on guitar/vocals, Scott McCullough on guitar, Jon Bond Head on bass and Brock Pytel on drums) were going to be a more driven outfit than the Asexuals.
With the 1987 passing of both Minneapolis’ Husker Du and the L.A.’s the Descendants (both of whom honed their maniacal work ethic under the charge of SST Records), it seemed to be Montreal's the Doughboys who were destined to carry on those bands' tradition of melding aggression, distortion and songcraft.
The band (dubbed The Whoa-boys for those relentless whoa-oh sing-alongs) did bear that torch with aplomb. In fairness, with their major label affiliations, Vision Streetwear sponsorship and those damn white-boy dreads, they also furthered the commercialization of North American punk, even hanging on long enough to get a hit single in the grunge era.
1987’s Whatever, however, proved punks of that era who grew out their hair didn’t have to play college-rock or speed metal. This album drives like a hardcore record but it’s swarming with hooky tunes and melodic guitar lines. It’s hit-after-hit and even a certain uniformity of sound can’t slow this fucker down.
Kastner’s song writing is at a peak herein (as heard in such chargers as “Tradition and “I Remember”) but he is not the group's only force to be reckoned with. One of the secrets behind a pop-punk band of depth is the drummer/songwriter a la Tommy Ramone of the Ramones, Grant Hart of Husker Du and Duncan Redmond from Snuff. To prove they’d learned this lesson well, The Doughboys kit-basher was one Brock Pytel, who wrote what may be the album’s most memorable song, the zen-punk, “Holiday” (“There’s no holiday from living there’s no shelter from it all, there’s no escape from dying – no one sees you when you’re standing tall”).
Many people consider the altogther-excellent Whatever the Doughboys most powerful album. They are wrong but easily forgiven.