CHILL PARENTS: Hail ACAB: CS

Okay, wow I love the way that Chill Parent’s songwriting and sonic curating has evolved. Still melodic and thrashy like their demos, but Hail ACAB is more brooding, vulnerable, and polished in ways that remind me of RVIVR, early Title Fight, and even at times the less ska moments of Leftöver Crack. A standout moment for me is the transition between “Crystal Palace” and “Hold My Head,” which blends an iconic prison recording of Angela Davis over sparse drums that build like a call to action—internally and communally—as Davis recalls the sounds of bombs shaking over her childhood home in Birmingham, Alabama while contemplating the role of violence in black liberation. I love how Hail ACAB is put together in a sort of pastiche way, incorporating live performances, demo style recordings, and samples. It’s a risky move, but pays off, feeling like an inspired collection. This tape is contemplative, intellectual, and aggressive, without ever being macho or condescending. It also does something rare for politically driven DIY: it maintains a sense of joy even in the dark. Highly recommend. –Candace Hansen (chillparents.bandcamp.com/album/hail-acab)