Self Defense Family is an odd blend of post-hardcore and spoken word, with subtle, and I emphasize subtle punk influences. As odd as they get, ‘Try Me’, proves to be a complex, cinematic yet coherently sound record that feels like the lovechild of MewithoutYou and The Mars Volta. It’s extreme, paranoid and drifts into musical experimentation that leaves you breathless. This record commemorates the concepts of life and struggle that vocalist Patrick Kindlon loves to spew on. Their best work to date? Hell yes.
“Tithe Pig” and “Turn The Fan On” are haunting. They’re bridged on intricate and stirring guitars that take lead from the instrumental sector of John Frusciante. So sublime and so melodic, yet so calm. At first glance, the outcome here is apparent – Kindlon’s standard vocal approach is softer and more toned down. This slower tempo offers plausibility, urgency, strife and an abnormal sense of belief in his spoken words and you know what? This cadence is fitting. It suits well and these both come off as solid standouts and whirlwind openers.
“Apport Birds” and “Aletta” continue to offer the calm before the storm – a musical style that SDF prides itself on. They come off as poems deriding the negatives in life yet in all the infernos that Kindlon loves to speak on, they act as compact doses of post-hardcore with tight drumming and a continued streak of melodic-indie. However, there are some tracks that are a bit dubious and do come off too radical and needless. The interjections are parallax musical attempts but as unique as they are, they aren’t brought into the light seamlessly. “Dingo Fence” exemplifies this. It’s a tough conundrum but you’ll get through it. There are too many layers of awesome that will supersede and in fact, exceed expectations, as well as the incredulous, and sometimes pretentious, overachieving on the album.
SDF isn’t bogged down in their continuity. They’re fearless and risk-taking and this record shows why. Kindlon’s highly underrated as a lyrical savant but ‘Try Me’ goes a long way into exerting the genius of this band. Ambitious and very driven. Can’t ask for more. What they love to do is put out bold music and this here, isn’t any different. 2014’s off to a bang for them.
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