Decades - Shelter from the Swarm [7-inch] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Shelter from the Swarm [7-inch] (2010)

State of Mind

Decades follow up their very promising 2008 EP, Numbered, with this fairly solid four-song 7". Where Numbered felt like a thoughtful continuation of a certain hardcore style that boomed in the mid-2000s through bands like Dead Hearts, Modern Life Is War and early This Is Hell, Shelter from the Swarm feels a little bit meaner and scrappier, albeit wrapped up in a fierce, often mid-tempo package.

Shelter from the Swarm is solid and enjoyable for its eight-minute-or-so running time, but the tracks feel a little indistinct and forgettable compared to Numbered. Still, this is a relatively cool stylistic shift; the band sound more aggressively spontaneous, with songs twisting and turning through unpredictable folds and verse-chorus abandonment. This is less slow-burning hardcore than it is adopting the scratchy, thumping beat of lesser-known bygones like Lewd Acts or Election Day.

Lyrically, these tracks are strong, picturesque and provocative, often personal numbers in the key of Witness ("This ain't '77, you can't just dye your hair green or pierce your cheek with a safety pin, / they've turned the outsiders back in"), though it feels like they could've been given more deliberate frames to be offered in. Three of the tracks cut short of the two-minute mark–the other surpasses it by 19 seconds. They feel too rushed and spit out to paint the otherwise promising narrative each song offers.

Granted, the title track closer bites Comeback Kid's "The Trouble I Love" a little hard (and it doesn't even offer an equally climactic payoff), but the rest of Shelter from the Swarm does give Decades a more unique identity than they had on Numbers. Now they just need to develop it more; even if it takes another two years, it could very well be worth it.

Shelter from the Swarm EP