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Admittedly I’ve never been a fan of pop punk. In fact it’s rather always been one of my pet hates, to the point I’d rather scratch out my inner ear than even be subject to another Blink 182 track. I’ve always been more likened to the old school stuff; probably more aligned with what your beatten & tattered father – obscured by mosh scars from the 80’s would consider “real punk”. You know; legendary acts such as Black Flag, Dead Kennedys, Bad Brains, Minor Threat…and all that good stuff. Personally the grit of the 80’s and its ever-present ring throughout the decades ahead had always struck a chord with me, and as a result has indisputably left a ubiquitous impact on my life. Nevertheless have I found my sweet spot for the genre? Who’d of known all it took were some touches of 90’s slacker rock vibes. Some Dinosaur Jr anyone?
Ferocious, abrasive and pummeling, Horror My Friend’s debut Stay In, Do Nothing is an album conceived from the raw punk godfathers of the 80s.
In recent months, Horror My Friend have been making noise across the Aussie music scene, quickly establishing their reputation as one of the hottest acts to watch in 2016. Comprising of Josh Battersby, Tom Gordon and Sam Kolesnik the Adelaide slacker rockers have supported well respected acts such as Swervedriver, DZ Deathrays, Violent Soho and the Cribs. Needless to say they most definitely caught my eye in the midst of all this hype. With their recent signing to Poison City Records, Horror My Friend have geared up to release their long awaited debut LP entitled Stay In, Do Nothing. I must note that the effort here is impressive; I can definitely feel the time the boys took to craft this project for the best possible results.
My initial introduction to Horror My Friend was with the track Mazes which dropped mid last year sometime. As far as first impressions go I guess mine were natural. Mazes weren’t terrible, nor did it overly excite me at the time. In my eyes it was just another pop punk tune, with more going on. However, fuck my initial impressions. Upon revisiting these guys it became clear to me that they are far from another pop punk act; I’ve definitely come to appreciate the diversity in their sound. Mazes barrages you with flat out catchy riffs, crawling with jangly melodic flows. Furthermore Gordon’s vocals deliver a pop punk charm thankfully unlinked to the traditional whine of what’s expected from a straightforward pop punk group.
Stay In, Do Nothing gets the ball rolling with Death Hill; talk about fat bass lines! Kicking off with a somewhat bare bones approach, the track quickly escalates into a dense wall of sound. The production here is no joke, Jez Giddings couldn’t of done a better job in capturing this group’s fluctuating dynamics. Stay In is the follow up track here delivering more upbeat vibes pulsing with energy. Stay In is swarming with influences from some of my beloved acts such as Dinosaur Jr and Cloud Nothings, irrefutably cementing itself as one of the strongest tracks here. Lets be honest, all it takes is one listen to those tasty guitar licks before you’re hooked. Is this shit even legal?
Same Minds, just as most tracks on the LP is dripping with energy and charisma. I love the structure here, in particular the bridge “All you need is to fuck someone who doesn’t care”… that’s one infectious melodic groove right there. Fast-forwarding to the final two tracks here; Echoes is a sonic assault of abrasive noise landscapes, pummeling drum beats, and riffs that drive right into your skull with fury. Echoes is definitely one of the heavier tracks on offer sonically throughout Stay In, Do Nothing. The songwriting here is exceptional as well, with a bridge likened to Sonic Youth, not to mention the tasty melodic guitar licks what provide a vibrant sonic splash – very similar to J Mascis. Echoes is the track that takes the cake.
PB Remains is a moment of serenity to serve as the closer. It’s an epic display of the group’s ability to harness the power of suspense in a good build up. In essence this entire track is one big build up from start to end, drawing in elements from the visceral expansion of shoegaze soundscapes. There’s nothing more to say besides ‘Wow’, that’s how you end on a high note!
If your head remains stuck longing for 90’s nostalgia likened to that of Dinosaur Jr – that isn’t reminiscent of stale bread left out to mold, Horror My Friend should be right up your alley. There’s a splash of pop punk vibes in here too so if you’re into that I urge you to give these guys a go.
Overall Stay In, Do Nothing has been a ridiculously pleasant surprise for me, and it’s safe to say I’ve well and truly boarded the Horror My Friend hype train at this point. The lads have only recently hit the road so you may of missed them, however their tour isn’t over till April 1st so make sure you get your ass down to a Horror My Friend show if the opportunity presents itself!
We made up our own Give Yourself Goosebumps story and played with Horror My Friend, you can read the hilarious results here.
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