It takes a lot for hardcore to make the seasoned listener breathless because those of us who’ve been around for a bit know how the ride goes. Reagan SS knows, too, and they up the ante by literally clenching the listener and whisper-screaming directly into their ear holes. I swear, I can feel my heart constrict, my eyes bulge, my teeth grit, and my knuckles itch every time I put this record on… and I know what’s going to happen, how it plays. Not only is Matt Average singing about an anxious world, the entire band’s capturing the listener into it, netting that anxiety, controlling the space. And I have to take my hat off to the band for the long-ass track that opens up the B-side (I think it’s “Primo,” if I counted the tracks on the vinyl right.) It’s the musical equivalent of watching bulldozers slowly level mountains of trash, and that underscores two things: 1.) Power can be short, quick jabs. It can also be built through ratcheting tension, that want of release, that slow build and instantaneous leveling in an avalanche. (Something that Fucked Up’s Hidden World underscores.) 2.) Fuck expectations. Bands, take note. Build music for yourself, grow, and let your vision guide you, even if it’s “out of bounds,” even if it’s far left field and “confuses the scene.” In the end, you only gotta live with yourself. Great record. Highly recommended.
–todd (Rebel Sounds)