The four songs on the Albany band's new album are a logical progression from where they left off with 2018's 'Cheer" album. All the things that worked best on "Cheer' are in play here. Where the opener has a more slacker 90s post hardcore sound they are angrier and more driving on the the title track that follow. The production has the same organic rawness and warmth that bands like Jawbreaker once held. +On the first song this finds them expanding into a more post-punk sound with reverb heavy guitars. This dialing back of distortion, opens up room for the vocals sing a little more. Not to say there is not a Hotwatermusic like rasp even in the most melodic moments. I remember getting stoned in 1999 recognizing the cross road where emo and post-punk met and I can hear it now hear very sober.
There is even a reckless explosiveness on the chorus that feels a little more like the Pixies, so the smarter side of the 90s indie post whatever . The vocals sound more confident and like he quit smoking as a they are a half step higher than the previous album. Perhaps a greater deal of credit goes to how this album was mixed. The drumming is crisper and the guitar seems to always sit where it needs to. I am listening to this album on repeat and not hearing anything that sets off my critical mind. I was already a fan from the last album, these guys have just spent time dialing everything in and it has paid off big. This is the kind of progress all bands should be making. They need to take note as the changes here have not taken away from the signature of what made this band great even in the album's most experimental moments.
They are angrier on "Bliss Out", but it is still very hooky in the syncopation. It is almost Helmet like in the punch it packs. Then the Pixies come to mind again with how the vocals are layered against the bass of " Remember to Forget", it feels kinda like "Debaser" , perhaps not as angry. I will give this album a 10 as my only regret is that there is not more of it and I am going to have to make do with these four songs hopefully for not three years to get a new one , but whatever it takes as long as there is more coming.