Ink & Lead / Sister Kisser - Split [12-inch] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Ink & Lead / Sister Kisser

Split [12-inch] (2009)

Gruff Beard

The first release from Long Island's Gruff Beard Records is essentially an aural manifestation of the name--you get two bands doing slightly different strains of riffy, upbeat Hot Water Music-influenced punk/post-hardcore on a split full-length.

Ink & Lead are up first with a half-dozen tracks of the stuff. Their brand involves some fairly dynamic guitar tones and appealing riffing--evident in opener "Shamelessly Painting Ourselves Into a Corner of Sameness" and "Wait Guys! I Landed on My Alicia Keys"--splashed across a strained, throaty take on the aforementioned. They have a bit of melodic hardcore influence too, though, reeling into some faster, Lifetime-esque tempos on "Joe Remix" and basically a straightforward, gravelly hardcore jam in the :50 "So Drunk, So Many Hot Dogs." Sometimes the recording feels a little too rough and muffled ("This Is Rich," "How the Kanye West Was Won"), but the song is usually strong enough to get by, save a few sloppy moments. (As a bonus to the digital download, you get the entirety of Ink & Lead's eight-song demo, which is basically just as good.)

Sister Kisser, on the flipside, are blessed with some brighter production, courtesy of Phil Douglas of course, but also have a more controlled, deliberate take on it for their five songs. Granted, their vocalist is a lot more Ragan/Wollard than Ink & Lead's, but despite the similarities drives the songs with a commanding and powerful front. The rugged plod and general tone of "Keep Dreamin" brings a reflection to mind, though the lyrics spell out more of an introspective dialogue with oneself and perhaps another. "Refusal to Pay" moves with an energy that contradictorily feels patient. They show some ambition for buildups in lengthy closer "Oh C(h)ristina," which definitely brings Small Brown Bike's "I Will Bury You in Me" to mind.

Very, very solid split full-length offering, and Sister Kisser has already followed it with an LP of their own, while Ink & Lead has some followup material themselves coming up.

Ink & Lead - Shamelessly Painting Ourselves Into a Corner of Sameness
Ink & Lead - So Drunk, So Many Hot Dogs
Ink & Lead - How the Kanye West Was Won
Ink & Lead - Wait Guys! I Landed on My Alicia Keys

Sister Kisser - Keep Dreamin
Sister Kisser - Refusal to Pay
Sister Kisser - Oh C(h)ristina