Don't Panic

Written by: PP on 02/09/2021 20:19:55

If you're getting some serious Hot Water Music withdrawals, especially towards their older material from "No Division" and "A Flight And A Crash" days, then you ought to give "Don't Panic" a spin. It's the debut album by Downstate, NY's Neckscars, who've spent the last couple of years refining their approach to Midwestern punk and have arrived at the same conclusion as Chuck Ragan & Chris Wollard did back in the day: dense, treble-charged guitar melodies underscored by production that's rough around the edges, and smokey, gravelly vocals just sounds awesome when delivered at mid-tempo.

That "Don't Panic" sounds like a long-lost sibling to the aforementioned Hot Water Music record isn't such an issue. After all, bands like North Lincoln, Make Do And Mend, and Paper Arms are all guilty of similar worship to varying degrees of similarity. The point is, when delivered with enough conviction and emotional charge, it's like the sound of an entire scene turning their collective heads towards you with their eyebrows going: what's that? treble-charged guitars? rowdy guitars? Tell me more...".

Here, Neckscars are carried through sublime instrumentation that complements their excellent vocalist in near-perfect fashion. The guitars are thick and layered, delivering a melodic, yet still heavy instrumental backing that allows Will Romeo's charismatic, scratchy vocals to shine. Tracks like "Jarring", "Temporary" and "In Front Of Me" are highlights in that sense, performed with a vivid passion that sticks with the listener straight away. They're the sort of songs with a driving tempo and melodically ringing guitars that just work despite the obvious similarities. Then you have a song like "Loaded", which draws parallels to Title Fight's "Floral Green" in the guitar department, or the balladic beginnings of "Unfinished" that displays the back-chilling emotion that surrounds this album that finishes off in an explosion of higher tempo and anthemic sing-alongs.

In summary, "Don't Panic" is the kind of record that Midwestern punk fans will consume as free PBR would be at the opening party of FEST. It's a solid punk rock record that's faithful to the genre legends, without being an outright clone, just waiting to be discovered by the scene at large.


Download: In Front Of Me, Jarring, Born Sick, Temporary, Loaded
For the fans of: Hot Water Music, Samiam, Small Brown Bike, Ship Thieves, North Lincoln, Paper Arms
Listen: Facebook

Release date 18.06.2021
Sell The Heart Records / Engineer Records

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