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ATP! Album Review: Drug Church - S/T EP

Sometimes, a release doesn't need to be laden with emotion to be hard hitting. It doesn't have to be layered with metaphor to be meaningful. It doesn't need to be weighted with stoney-faced trips on lifestyle choices to be significant. Sometimes, three tracks of thrashing, guttural jams representative of crushed beer cans, kickflips and jobs where you have to wear a hair net are ballsy enough in their own explicitness to provide everything you could ever want from an EP, and that's cool. If you're seeking sympathy, stay clear of the morgue.

Based in Albany, Drug Church is reminiscent of 80/90's hardcore in the vein of Quicksand, Jawbreaker and Kerosene 454 - reviving the same energy and framework, and ditching the masculine bravado whilst retaining all the muscular chord progressions and grunge-heavy riffs to create something that sounds like what might materialize if Supertouch and Guns Up! achieved the musical equivalent of nuclear fusion. It's not a format Drug Church have added any particularly game changing twists to - Single Mothers, Code Orange Kids and Creem (to name a few) are all toying with a similar style in their own way - but practically every beat of this EP packs a mightier punch than Nicolas Cage in a bear costume, and there is plenty of leeway for things to get fiercely weird.

Fronted by Patrick Kindlon, the vocals here are pushed much harder than anything he has done with Self Defence Family (End of a Year). His brawny growl commanding "Now hear this!" on opening track "Mohawk" conjures up the image of a dude stacked heavier than a latter-day Henry Rollins, which, if you've ever seen Kindlon, may make it difficult to marry what your eyes and ears are witnessing, and there's nothing not to love about that. Incidentally, "Mohawk" is the most straight-forward hardcore track on the EP, featuring blistering guest vocals by Jeremy Bolm (Touché Amoré) that elevate it to boiling point, immediately followed by a breakdown of brutal proportions.

"Northway" and "Latham Circle" take a slightly more experimental route, throwing more of an alt. rock vibe into the mix with wailing Melvins-style guitar solos, mucky bass lines and shifting tempos.

If you are sick of pretension and frustrated with absolutely everything, then dig your ears into this EP. Viva "ACTUAL disaffected punk for ACTUAL disaffected weirdos".


Drug Church's self-titled EP is out now through No Sleep Records.

Emma Garland

Alter The Press!