White Lung - Drown With the Monster [7-inch] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

White Lung

Drown With the Monster [7-inch] (2014)

Domino Records

It's hard being a "Critically Acclaimed Punk Band." The latest releases from OFF! and Perfect Pussy have both proven divisive in 2014; the former sounds too repetitive, the latter is too experimental. Next up for debate is White Lung. The band's 2012 full-length Sorry racked up plenty of accolades, plus a signing with Domino Records. Sorry was darn near perfect, a 19-minute collection of to-the-point politics and crashing instruments. It said what it needed and then got the hell out.

Which makes crafting a follow-up statement somewhat problematic. Still, that follow-up, entitled Deep Fantasy, will arrive in June. The advance single, "Drown With the Monster," attempts to straddle old and new territory with satisfying results. "Drown" would have fit right in with Sorry. It's another give-or-take two-minute tune full of Kenneth William's dissonant guitars and Mish Way's piercing shouts. This track obliterates.

The B-side, "Snake Jaw," is where the band slips in new touches. Why, the intro allows a relatively indulgent ten seconds of guitar textures before a familiar punk drum beat kicks in. Way's vocals have more sheen here, to the extent that A) she sings more than yells and B) I think I can decipher the lyrics without assistance. It's more Live Through This than Pretty on the Inside, by which I mean the song still rips and everybody should get stoked, even if the words deal with self-loathing.

We're still several weeks away from hearing Deep Fantasy, and this single splits the difference between staying the course and exploring new sonics. Even without that context, "Drown With the Monster" boasts two choice cuts.