Bitter Tongues - Clovis (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Bitter Tongues

Clovis (2005)

United Edge

It's getting to be annoying at best just how many bands cite Quicksand as an influence. We're talking pop-punk and metalcore bands saying they sound like, or were inspired by the former post-hardcore standouts, and it usually couldn't be further from the truth. Enter Bitter Tongues, who you guessed it, cite Quicksand as an influence, but things are different this time around; the jagged riffs and intense sounds coming from Clovis really do bring some Quicksand to the table.

Bringing some dirty Southern grit straight out of Texas, this four-piece has a lot to bring to the table. Vocalists Jason Smith and Richard Crenwelge trade vocal duties back and forth with the greatest of ease, not unlike Gainesville's finest in Hot Water Music. The scruffy shouting and thick screams front a strong attack that their guitar and bass playing respectively as well as the guitar of Zach Frady and drumming of Jared Cannon only serves to accent. The instrumentation really is flawless through each of the seven songs, cascading along and hitting all the same highs and lows that the vocals are hitting. The volatile nature makes every minute just as fresh and exciting as the last, leaving you on edge waiting for that next big burst of guitar or thundering drum roll.

It's really just impressive that the intensity does not relent for even a minute; regardless of the pace or volume, that same energy is still in the music, and can still be felt deep inside. Songs like "Drywall Logistics" not only make use of this dynamic, but bring the dual vocal approach to its very highest peak. Strarting off in somewhat of a reserved fashion, that quickly goes out the window in favor of the call-and-answer vocal style of Smith and Crenwelge, and while all that is going on, the guitars are buzzing with activity, integrating some solid melodies amidst the chaos behind it. "Everyone Back in the Water" takes a slightly more frenetic approach, after a slinky bass-line and some sung vocals, the guitar work really picks up, splashing back and forth while Smith's screams are tuned down so as not to overpower the interplay between the rest of the band.

"Street Gravy" picks up right where "Logistics" left off, only increasing the amount of interaction and back and forth between the two vocalists, only slowing in the middle for some slow, rhythmic drum patterns and bass picking before returning in an even more impassioned fashion than before. The seven-minute "Flutterbuffer" is akin to climbing a mountain; the trail becomes more difficult, yet more gratifying as it gets higher and higher, until finally subsiding, drowning in flurries of guitar squalls and throat-searing screams.

This roaring blast of post-punk is one hell of a journey, and the fruits of labor are many if you choose to finish.