CLEONS DOWN: 1995-1997: LP

Nov 20, 2023

If I had heard these songs when I was nineteen, I would’ve been all about Cleons Down. Their take on basement show post-hardcore/emo—their grasp of dynamics and melodic/discordant balance—is up there with any of their DIY peers of the late ’90s. The songs are catchy, fiery, sometimes coming off like early Braid, sometimes bordering on Torches To Rome/Bread And Circuits in their intensity (maybe Fuel’s a better comparison). Am I noticing the passage of time? Am I wondering whether nostalgia is softening me? Am I thinking, again, about how ’90s hardcore and its offshoots and sub-offshoots really represented a weirdly golden era in American punk? Yes, yes, yes. But specifically, I think this collection is pretty good. –Matt Werts (Council,

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