As a huge fan of Direct Hit!, I naturally found myself wanting to check out Galactic Cannibal. Nick Woods plays the vocalist role in both bands, and accordingly there are similarities. Both feature catchy pop punk with gravelly vocals, but where Direct Hit! is more playful, Galactic Cannibal is more intense, forging its own identity with its furious tone.
On We’re Fucked, Woods vocals are harsher, closely resembling a hardcore bark. This shouldn’t be surprising for most fans, as Direct Hit! have already proven quite adept at hardcore on their split EP with Hold Tight. Galactic Cannibal is more of a melding of the two styles though. Other bands have tried to mix hardcore with pop punk, but often times the result is something akin to All Time Low name checking hardcore with shoehorned breakdowns, rather than embodying the genre’s essence. Galactic Cannibal bridge the gap with astonishing fluidity. Pop punk and hardcore were both present at the beginning of punk, and share a lot in common (it was the Ramones that inspired Black Flag after all); both are raw and confrontational music being made without pandering or pretension, stripped of frills and civility. We’re Fucked is punk rock at an almost zen like perfection, melding sub-genre sounds and spirit into something pure and intense.
“Hate Everything More” is a sonic shotgun blast to the face, opening We’re Fucked with the battle cry: “God damn, raise a fucking fist, what are you waiting for? I can see a tremor running through your skin!” The music is comprised of explosive power chord chugging– simultaneously the soundtrack to convenience store robberies and punk rock catharsis– combined with the catchy, screaming pathos of a man on the edge of despair. The title track is one of the catchiest songs on the album, a great ode to misanthropy encapsulated in the line “this world fucking sucks.” The lone lead note riff that opens “Invisible” serves to make the accompanying vocals all the more powerful, but also offers a change of pace from the relentless chugging.
“Twin Peaks” sounds more meditative in comparison to the rest of We’re Fucked, and with some of its more prominent lead work sounds eerily like early Hot Water Music. The final track, “Take It From Me Everything” is infectious at times (“Say it again and again and again and again”), but at another slips into a harshness bordering on grindcore that works incredibly well.
Galactic Cannibal are furious-as-shit, but their songwriting is at a high enough level that they can communicate personal turmoil in a particularly striking and absorbing way. One of the highest compliments I can give We’re Fucked, is that while it is an album marked by its discontent, the musicality never lets it feel draining. We’re Fucked is one of those remarkable records that distills punk into the purity of its genesis without being nostalgic mimicry– it’s urgent, it’s modern, and it fucking hates us all. And honestly, we’re better for it.