Apathy Cycle - Apathy Cycle (Cover Artwork)

Apathy Cycle

Apathy Cycle (2020)

Tent City

Orange County, California's Apathy Cycle honed their unique and refreshing take on sociopolitical skate punk with a thirteen song self-titled home run.

Apathy Cycle doesn't waste a moment, diving directly into a banger about America's poor and sick with "Premium Healthscare." The mix of the full length is fantastic. Andrew Berlin and Bill Stevenson's engineering, and Jason Livermore's standard mix and master, link magnificently with the musicianship and attitude of the four piece. "Healthscare" fades immediately into racing drums and pristine bass riffs from singer Gregg Armen. AC is incredibly smart in song flow, as every member reserves a chance to pop in and hoist their instrument into the front of the mix. The intro to "Forgotten Genocide" punctuates that statement, before diving into some punk/ska a la Suicide Machines or Leftover Crack.

"Muted Light" runs a slow build at Pennybridge tempos, pasting optimistic storytelling to hopeless melodic guitars, while "Feeling Snowed In" borrows East Bay surfer riffs and sing along choruses. "I Objectify" fucking rips, from doubletime drums, dueling guitar leads, and tight syncopated vocals from Armen and guitarist Pat Gribbin. "Wanderlust" is another great moment, successfully rehashing the tired punk band cliche of escaping from a boring town to follow your passions. Apathy Cycle is simply too seasoned and solid to slip up on this release. The album is as stylistically varying as an early (good) Punk-O-Rama, a 33 minute tutorial describing all of the fucking excellent places a punk rock band can go while staying true to the genre.

"Narcissists Anonymous" is my personal favorite on the record. I'm no match for the tough delivery and juxtaposition of clean guitar and gnarly, pitted, riffs. The anthem saxophone solo's into the single leads and lightening speed of "Critical Thinking." The song reads like a good ska/punk tune and a Pennywise standard smashed together, and the result is a kickass wad of ambiance and another killer song. "Trigger Warning" tears open with more choice bass licks from Armen, and effortless skate punk drumming from Andy Laughlin, who meticulously steps in and out of the limelight throughout the session to allow flares from the other members, all while compassing one of the most solid releases of 2020.

Apathy Cycle promptly ends with the quick ska number "Antonia's Against the Wall" and catchy punk goodbye "Schadenfreude." It left me wanting more, and stoked to wait for it, quite frankly. We watch some of our idols fail time and time again to produce new material that lives up to their legacy, and these guys accomplish it song after song on their first LP? I don't want to rush their methodology, but yeah, more Apathy Cycle please. Rad record. Much recommend.