DROPTHIS - Culture to Criticise (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick


Culture to Criticise (2016)

13 Stitches punk rock

On their first full-length release, Culture to Criticise, DROPTHIS continues to bang out their eclectic blend of punk rock genres. Ranging from hardcore screaming to the poppiest of pop-punk sounds, oft-times in the same song.

The buzzing and crackling of an ancient dial-up modem signal is a prelude to the first track, “Escape From The Old Boy Network,” until riling guitars and Dan Atkinson’s whiplash snare drum rolls launch full speed into the song. The rough, near yell of lead vocalist Jordan Harris alternating with backing vocals from both guitarists hits hard, and is soon joined by an anthem-ready chorus that begs you not to sing along.

On “Lethargy Effigy” the thumping beat had my foot tapping and a truly blazing metal solo put a smile on my face a mile wide. The penultimate track “Fameandshitarebothfourletterwords” gets you bouncing with a 1-2-3 rhythm and lightning quick lyrics delivered in shotgun bursts so fast that it is hard to keep up, although such an energetic song deserves a more climactic finish.

However, lest one think DROPTHIS is a one-trick pony of hard and aggressive energy, “The Colony” and “No Hard Feelings” throw you for a loop with poppier rhythms and vocals which are more tuneful and packed with catchy hooks. “Tree of Fire” is reminiscent of a less-depressing Alkaline Trio song, replete with crooning vocals and sing-along ‘whoa-oh-ohs.’

On truly standout song, “Nothing,” Cat Goodman of Demon Smiles joins for guest vocals. Her voice rises and falls as a perfect counter-point to Harris in a duet where everyone gives it their all. Pete Duggan lays down a catchy bass line on a thrilling front half, leading to an interlude cut with a true-blooded rock’n’roll guitar solo.

“Transmission Terminated” may be the one big misstep on the album. The song is very good, but a gimmick is employed at the end that played out a little to long, and burns away much of the momentum generated thus far.

Everything culminates in "Attack of the Great White," a song which seems to pack just about every playing style into a single 5-minute track that hits all of the right notes. Once done, the impulse to listen to it all over again is too strong to ignore.

Production quality on the album is fairly decent: all vocals, both lead and backing, are clear; and the bass and percussion are adequately full. For the guitars Nick Curtis and Andrew Keech play with skill, but the production here comes off a bit too dry and light, lacking a solid meatiness at times that would have added more power and ‘oomph’ to some of the songs.

DROPTHIS, with their predilection for intra-song genre hopping, could be seen as amateurish or a group that can’t find their voice. But taking into account their body of work as a whole, it’s clear that they enjoy different genres (or sub-genres, this IS punk rock after all), and aren’t afraid to employ them all in their songwriting process. Those who can’t stand certain styles may be put off but, if you aren’t too picky or, even better, enjoy these different styles, then this is the album for you.