In the past decade or so, the term “hardcore” has become a bit murky to define, at least when applied to music. For years it was synonymous with the early 80’s punk movement, but lately it seems as if the term is being used to describe acts of a more metal-influenced variety, while bands like Minor Threat and the Circle Jerks are being retconned at plain ol’ punk. Essentially, genres are meaningless. But I bring it up anyway because of LA’s Neighborhood Brats are a pure hardcore band, ready to take “hardcore” back. It’s fitting in that sense that their debut album is called Recovery.
Much like the band’s previous release, the Total Dementia EP, Recovery rips into action immediately with a buzzing guitar riff that could have been right at home on Damaged. The searing guitars, the pounding drums and Dukowski-esque bass dominate the rest of album and it practically begs to be played loudly. Even when the band strays from the usual formula (like the bouncy and almost pop-oriented tunes “Suburbia” and “Painted and Gutted”), there’s still always that hint of hardcore- Neighborhood Brats have their roots planted deep.
On the unfortunate side of things, Jenny Angelillo’s vocals sound mixed a bit lower in comparison to the instruments. She’s still got the raw intensity that’s required for the singer of a hardcore band to have (particularly during tracks like “Boys for 20 Years” and “50 Shades of Fuck You”), but there are moments during Recovery when you just can’t help but wish that she sounded louder.
Recovery may exactly take “hardcore” back on its own, but it is still a damn fine album and a great place to begin with the recovery of the term. It’s tailor-made for anyone who has complained that modern hardcore has become oversaturated and stale.
4 / 5 – Stream it below!
RIYL: Black Flag, Night Birds, The Go-Go’s