Short Changed - Short Changed (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Short Changed

Short Changed (2010)

Rodent Popsicle

Somewhere between raw DIY hardcore, crust and slightly slower, extended, powerviolence is Short Changed, a California quintet that lives up to its name.

Resembling more the hardcore of the early 1980s than most of those claiming to represent the genre today, Short Changed doesn't entirely throw back to the past. Lyrically, many of the album's topics address present-day issues, such as the verbal chiding of "Reinventing Against Me!" and the four-second "Morally Bankrupt," which simply proclaims, "Two girls, one cup, ‘nuff said." The former is a bit more derisive, lashing "Don't tell me what to do / I've got it on my own" to a breakneck snare rhythm. The band also drops a cover of "Hard as Fuck," an Against All Authority song from Destroy What Destroys You that came out in the mid-'90s.

Still, there are plenty of themes that are just as relevant today as they would have been 30 years ago. The 45-second "Pipebomb Party" is one of the band's more incisive sets of lyrics, even if indiscernible to the naked ear: "Strung out on the line with a two-week notice / Just trying to survive, going to be homeless soon / Greedy fucking asshole wants to kick us out to get yuppie tenets who will pay twice as much." The primal album opener, "Life Is Expensive" recalls the aggression and simplicity of Negative Approach, while "D.Y.F.L." ("dude, you're fucking lame") is a snotty thrashblaster that clocks in at a cool 1:11. The best track of the LP is the ever-so-slightly introspective "Bottle or the Knife," a realistic confrontation of coping mechanisms: "I've seen a lot in my 18 years / Seen my innocence rot away / Drowning myself in alcohol is easier than facing the day."

Short Changed plays punk rock in the short, fast, and loud tradition, taking each measure to the extreme. There are no frills on their self-titled LP, but there's nothing to complain about either. For anyone looking for unadulterated hardcore that does't ape the past, Short Changed is worth the 17 minutes its 13 songs comprise.