MIDDLE AMERICA: Scars: 7”

The title track, “Scars,” sounds a hell of a lot like Black Flag’s “Damaged,” with similar bass line, tempo, and distorted and twisted guitar sound. Some may think this is a good thing. But Middle America is no Black Flag. The playing is less intense, and despite all the screaming and growling, the urgency and desperation sounds a tad forced. The opener, “Every Night” starts off okay, then tends to lose its way and washes out with some feedback. “Reclusion” starts off with a dark and minimal tone similar to what the Birthday Party could achieve—plodding—then lurches into thrashy hardcore punk and is suddenly over. Of the three cuts on this record, this is the standout track.

 –M.Avrg (Fashionable Idiots, fashionableidiots.com)