BROWN SUGAR: … Sings of Birds and Racism: LP

Brown Sugar play mainly mid tempo hardcore punk that varies in tone and delivery. It’s not all thrash, thrash, thrash! Instead, the urgency is delivered in the noisy playing and the drawn out songs that build tension and never really let it go, choosing to hang on until the last notes of the final song, “I Wanna Be a Somali Pirate.” The vocals have a belligerence about them that recalls Darby Crash; how they growl and hold onto words. In fact, there’s an air of belligerence over this whole record. Sometimes, the songs sound like they’re near the point of collapsing in on themselves. Other times, they’re wound up and jittery. The addition of the saxophone and messing with the length of songs adds to the feeling of looseness and stretching the boundaries of hardcore punk in 2011/2012. I’m reminded of ‘80s hardcore—in the sense when bands used albums to mess with their overall sound—like sometimes amid all the speed and rage, they would throw in an acoustic number somewhere towards the end. Though Brown Sugar have yet to do that, they do things like slow it down, cut back on the distortion, and switch up the vocal style a smidge for a song like “Blow” that brings to mind mid-’80s DC hardcore like Gray Matter. “I Wanna Be a Somali Pirate” has a riff lifted from Pink Floyd’s “Interstellar Overdrive.” This is the sort of album you can sit back and take in and hear new things with repeated listens. I’ve played this thing like ten times tonight, hearing more and more each time. Looking forward to hearing where these guys take their sound.

 –M.Avrg (Feral Kid, feralkidrecords.com / Feeble Mind, feeblexminds.blogspot.com)