Wednesday, January 18, 2017
Racebannon - In The Grips Of The Light
Label: Level Plane
Normally I don't get down too hard with spazzy emo, or..."screamo" as the case may be. Which I will chalk up to age, and experience living through the paper bag 7" cover epoch of 1995. I spent many (too many) evenings in sweaty basements all over this great land of ours watching post-adolescent boys squeal and gesticulate and roll around on the floor playing fairly rote stop/start, quiet/loud, fast/slow two minute caterwauls. So, I am all too familiar with the aesthetic.
So when at the turn of the century some of that sound was coming back around, I was pretty well content to let that train hurtle on past. Basement emo wasn't a genre I was trying to bust (Fugazi ref...natch) as I was into my thirties.
Well, as to be expected, within that wave of bands, there were a few that were making new noise out of an old racket, and adding in various influences to create records that had a familiar DNA, but who's nose looked a little different than Current's nose. Maybe had more freckles than Indian Summer. Hair was curlier than Inkwell (shout out to Phil Fay!). Know what I mean?
Racebannon were rooted in a previous version of hardcore, but were certainly of their contemporaries for the most part. And while there is some of the emo violence of Blood Brothers (thankfully none of the annoying vocal whine though), and some of the sprawling fractured blitz of City of Caterpillar, and some of the grind-adjacent buzz of Orchid, the band managed to avoid the tedium of the genre as a whole. The songs stretch out, allowing them to expand and contract. So when they do drop into a double time attack, the vigor is there to propel you the listener into a different headspace. It's...dare I say, "artistic".
Or, maybe I'm overthinking it.