Once the initial thrill upon hearing that a band has ended their self-imposed hiatus and are returning with fresh recordings passes, there is that unmistakable feeling of trepidation. Will there still be the spark and crackle of passion, invention and enthusiasm that made them so special or will it just be a tired old retread of what came before? The last twitch of a band who should just be put out of their misery.
Massachusetts, melodic punk/ hardcore band No Trigger have been around since the year 2000 with their last album, “Tycoon”, coming all the way back in 2012. A lot can happen in 5 years so it is with that familiar feeling of excitement and apprehension that the band mark their return with this 4 track EP. Thankfully, “Adult Braces” is an inspired and welcome return for the band who serve up 4 tight, punchy anthems ready for immediate consumption.
“Sleeping Bag” starts things off in typically bracing fashion with a tightly wound hardcore riff that crashes face first into a bouncy, melodic punk chorus. Their sound sits somewhere between Strike Anywhere and Good Riddance and, while it may not be wholly original, when it’s done this well and with this amount of raw, burning passion, who cares? The band have a veteran’s understanding of how to stitch together tough, brawny hardcore and brighter, more upbeat pop-punk with each song elevated still further by singer Tom Rheault’s introspective lyrics. As he bawls lines “I’ve been dreaming/another night in hell” it’s clear that each song is a cathartic opportunity for him to lay his frustrations and pent-up fury bare. “Holy Punks” is a similarly disaffected anthem which sees Rheault address the uncertainties of having to navigate your 30s and the very real pressures to “grow up”.
“Dogs On Acid” is another prime example of the band’s perfect blend of intense, hardcore verses and more anthemic, melodic punk choruses. After the hushed, lo-fi strums of an acoustic guitar it quickly becomes a full on oral assault as Rheult’s urgent tirades tangle with roaring guitars and quick fire drums. EP closer, “Hyperaware”, deviates subtly from what precedes it as the band cram a lifetime’s worth of musical lessons into 3 and a half minutes. The crisp, post-hardcore lead guitar line that buttresses the vocals,and the atmospheric verses are pure A Wilhelm Scream. While the bone-rattlingly infectious chorus and the quiet/loud bridge that sees the rest of the band recede behind a dam of pounding drums before roaring back to life, show a subtle touch similar to that of Hot Water Music.
Fans may be disappointed at the brevity of this EP but it serves as a tasty reminder of what we’ve been missing since the band went into hibernation. Let’s just hope the band doesn’t wait so long next time.