Hardcore Friends

Written by: PP on 21/01/2016 22:15:43

It's the time of the year to go through material released last year we never got around to reviewing the first time around. Lithuania, who originate from the flourishing punk scene of Philadelphia, first caught my attention when they toured with last year's underground sensation Beach Slang across the US, including an appearance at FEST in the process. Their debut album "Hardcore Friends" is a wonderful listen for anyone who enjoys their fair share of Superchunk as the underlying influence of an otherwise chaotic, yet melodious punk rock sound. Sounds like a familiar characterization? Then you probably read among fans of one or more of the following: Joyce Manor, Jeff Rosenstock, or his bombastic free-form punk outfit Bomb The Music Industry!.

Basically, expect a charming cacophony of buzzing guitars, off-tune shout/sing dynamics, unpredictably placed gang-shouted choruses, and vivid, warm soundscapes that sound like someone set the room on fire and the band kept playing. The production glitches and lo-fi passages are there on purpose to allow for rich contrasting elements, perhaps best seen on tracks like "Deaf Gene" where the vocals break and crackle in the soundscape, or on the somber, tranquil ballad "I Wanna Drink Poison", which slowly crescendos into fiery screams and walls of guitar in a manner that'll make you question if the track really wasn't a brainchild of Jeff Rosenstock. It translates to a charismatic total chaos instrumentally that somehow manages to sound melodious and cheerful in the process, jam-packed with immediacy and urgency, as if the record is being recorded live as you listen to it. A buzzing atmosphere, indeed, that also draws inspiration from the timeless Alkaline Trio debut "Goddamnit!" that had a similar vibe going on to its advantage.

If there's one criticism to point out about "Hardcore Friends", it is that the record and the band are roughly in the same state as Joyce Manor were on their sophomore album "Of All The Things I Will Soon Grow Tired": all over the place without a clear direction and slightly lacking production value. But look at what those guys released shortly after on the more polished, albeit still raw and rock'n'roll driven "Never Hungover Again"? That's the path I see Lithuania going for on their next record, because "Hardcore Friends" is full of examples of great, catchy songwriting. It just needs to click for the next album and I'll guarantee they'll be the next scene darlings. One of the bands to watch in 2016, for sure.


Download: 2009, Pieces, Deaf Gene, I Wanna Drink Poison
For the fans of: Jeff Rosenstock, Bomb The Music Industry!, Joyce Manor, Living Room
Listen: Facebook

Release date 14.08.2015

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