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Tuesday
Apr152014

Album Reviews: The Faint, PUP, The Caution Children, NØMADS

The Faint Doom Abuse

The Faint
Doom Abuse
SQE 

When dance punk act The Faint released Danse Macabre in 2001, there wasn't any sort of indication of the record's inevitable status as one of the most cherished dance rock albums. Nearly two years ago, the band's trek across North America performing the album in its entirety drew big crowds, and it found the act wetting their fans' appetite with the Evil Voices EP. Depending on who you talk to and possibly the time of day, the band's post-Danse Macabre releases, 2004's Wet From Birth and 2008's Fasciinatiion, achieved hit or miss status.

Does Doom Abuse come close to or surpass The Faint's beloved 2001 release? Not exactly, but the album finds the band simply enjoying themselves and not stooping to any trend.

The band clearly decided to convey more punk ferociousness in their sound with the tracks "Salt My Doom" and "Scapegoat". Both track could easily work their way into some sweaty punk rock basement, and nobody would even bat an eye. Even the opening track "Help In The Head" possess a fist-pumping, punk-esque chant of "God speed, it dawns/ we spray paint the jug/ If judgment day comes we’ll hide behind the sun" at the end.

The blippy "Dress Code", a track which a friend of mines stated was better than all of Fasciinatiion, will certainly find its way onto several clothing store commercials. The band manages to get raw and gritty with "Animal Needs". Backed by driving beats, vocalist Todd Fink looks through the eyes of animals in the wilderness Animorphs-style with lines like "We don’t need cars/ We don’t need pools/ We don’t need trophies/ We don’t need jewels". "Lesson From The Darkness" is a dancefloor number drenched in icy synths, while album closer "Damage Control" finds the band channeling Violator-era Depeche Mode.

Overall, Doom Abuse is a record that will (or probably won't) cool the pain of those burned by their last two releases.

 

PUP
Self-titled
Side One Dummy 

Most of you probably browse numerous music sites and say to yourself, "If I read one more news article about another pop-punk act, I'm gonna explode!" Well, before you decide to spontaneously combust, you should probably a take a listen to Toronto band PUP. For those who love punk but dread the "pop" prefix, this Canadian four-piece band are the cure for what ails you.

PUP's debut self-titled album dropped in Canada last October, but now it's time for the rest of the world to get their hands on these 10 tracks of pure punk rock calamity. Their self titled album is the equivalent of a huge rager at your house: copious amounts of beer drinking and the titanic possibility of furniture being flipped over. Hell, some TVs and windows might get destroyed as well. Tracks like "Guilt Trip" and "Reservoir" are enough to ignite massive singalongs and a perpetual amount of crowdsurfing. While the band can deliver some circle pit inducers, such as the final 60 seconds of "Factories", they can slow things down for a bit. "Yukon" is the kind of smoky, slow churning song you'd hear in an empty bar after a long day's work.

Fans of The Bronx and Titus Andronicus will find themselves screaming along to these songs loudly outside of their car window in the middle of a traffic jam. Or they could just possibly hum along to avoid any stern stares from neighboring drivers.

 

The Caution Children
Safe Crusades/No Judgements/And Baby
Flannel Gurl Records 

Much like metal and punk, screamo is a genre that had its fair share of metamorphosis over the years. Most people remember a time when bands like Circle Takes The Square, Thursday and Orchid were the pillars of the screamo foundation. Unfortunately, current bands like Alesana and Sleeping With Sirens have been unceremoniously given the screamo label by a group of onlookers, mainly off-putting fans, that never understood what made the genre such a cherished staple in the underground scene. Thankfully, bands like The Saddest Landscape, La Dispute and Pianos Become The Teeth have helped restore the genre's original framework.

The Caution Children's latest album Safe Crusades/No Judgements/And Baby continues their magnificent hybrid of screamo, post hardcore and post rock. For its 28 minutes span, the album feels like a roaring storm with some inserted brief moments of peace and clarity. The calm, atmospheric parts ("Superb Lyrebird Recording") are very reminiscent of Moving Mountains, while its post hardcore/screamo combo ("Psalms") is akin to bands like the aformentioned Pianos Become The Teeth. The highlight of the album "Middle Missing" feels like a journey on a ship with its serene guitars calmly flowing through the waters. Suddenly, the ship comes face to face with disastrous winds and destructive lighting, and the only thing vocalist Nicholas Aflleje can do is scream for mercy. The album can be downloaded for free (or for a few dollars if you're kind) over on their bandcamp page.

 

NØMADS

Free My Animal

Sometimes you don't need a massive group of people to create some stimulating music. Case in point: NØMADS. The Brooklyn-based duo consists of vocalist/guitarist Nathan Lithgow (My Brightest Diamond, Gabriel & The Hounds) and drummer Garth Macaleavey (former touring drummer for Inlets and sound engineer for NYC venues Le Poisson Rouge and Joe's Pub).

NØMADS' debut album Free My Animal is a pleasant getaway for those tired of the overabundance of slick and overpolished music. The entire album was recorded in one take during a rehearsal session without the use of any metronome. This release is eight tracks of unadulterated rawness, and it simply thrives on that notion. Tracks like "Blood in the Water" and "Down in Out" have a lighter vibe while the title track sifts through with slithering melodies. "Disguises" is a five and a half minute number that feels like a wildfire with its calm demeanor slowly morphing into a burning inferno. Closing track "Lemming/King" concludes with a grimy five minute jam session.

For fans of Queens of the Stone Age and Girls Against Boys, Free My Animal is an impressive debut album from one of NYC's must-see (and must-hear) bands. (Terrance Pryor)