This debut EP from New York...punks? New wavers? Creeps? Whatever you wanna try to pin them down as...is one of the stronger debuts I've heard this year. The album starts with a creepy instrumental track, moving between dissonant, haunting jangled into a noisy, blaring assault of distorted monstrosity, leading right into the next track without any weak pause.
The first lyric of an album always tends to stick with me when I listen from start to finish. After two measures of a very monotonously evil riff, the words "Open your mouth" are whispered into your ears. Sending a chill down my spine, I stayed attentive to how the music and lyrics accompany each other into a silently sadistic cacophony of sheer terror. Within the first minute I was nearly shaking, anxious for the song to explode--and explode it did, leaving me with a feeling I cant quite describe (but I'm sure HP Lovecraft or someone along those lines could).
By the end of this song, I was expecting "Okay, you can only really keep up this energy for so long without it getting old." But I was so very wrong. The album ranges from dark and explosive to melodic and progressive, making this a very unique thing in punk rock right now, bordering post-punk or maybe post-hardcore even.
Once the fog had parted after "Swallowed Whole," I was shoved into "Spinal Tap," a fast thrash blast, a murky sludge track and altogether just a great, energetic song. Though the lyrics don't seem to make sense, these B-movie freaks seem to be heavy in metaphor lyrically, leaving this one up to anyone's interpretation.
As if perfectly placed, the thrash attack is followed up by a dark, creepy instrumental track bordering Dinosaur Jr. reminiscence and a clear worship for 1980s U.K. acts like Bauhaus or the Cure, even a little Rush at the end. With clear misanthropic bitterness hanging over these tracks, I could only imagine where the album was going to turn next. And my imagination had failed me once more, as I stumbled into "Symbiote."
This track perhaps stands out to me as the strongest because it is so God damn perfect in every aspect. It begins with a slow, daunting bass line hanging over you like gallows, and pushes you into the blackest of oceans as it is entombed in a catchy as Hell (literally Hell) surf riff. The vocals begin with a whispering-singing, saying "Rain, rain, rain, won't you come another day / Leave a thousand empty buckets to wash away the pain / We'll sprint a thousand miles and we'll wait 28 days / Where we'll wear our finest dresses and the soldiers will take aim."
Immediately after this description of God-knows-what atrocities, the vocals and music blare into a shrieking of absolute horror, as if these guys are terrified for their lives... but that's just the pre-chorus. The actual chorus takes that shrieking horror and turns it around, as if the horror that was witnessed was caused by their own hands, as if they had just killed someone and felt the guilt, and then it instantly dissipates back to that daunting jangly description of past innocence fading away before your very eyes. This second time, however, the horror hits harder and you're strangled and suffocated by what is clearly Doofus Alan Poe, the masters of musical macabre.
The song ends. "I saw your body / Dead," they declare.
And then begins the epic conclusion.
"Deanxietized" begins with what sounds like an O.C. punk bass line along the likes of the Adolescents. Then the drums and guitar kick in with a Christian Death-esque approach, followed by vocals drenched in some kind of distortion Steve Albini would use. The voices are clearly influenced by Iggy Pop and Dave Vanian and are placed at an unequal pace, adding to the scrambled fear-inducing awkwardness of this EP. We get a catchy goth-y tune with a clear post-punk, noise rock and probably Slint influence, leading into a noise composition of feedback, scrapes, scratches and squeals. Right after this, the chorus is repeated and followed by an outro that is very worthy of the Twilight Zone audio clip used in it (it's awesome, trust me).
This ending effectively closes what is one of the strongest debut albums I've heard in music this year. I would highly recommend this to any enthusiast of punk rock, goth, indie, post punk, noise rock, hardcore or really any aggressive form of rock music. Check it out and give these guys your support.