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Album Review: Drug Church - 'Swell'

2 February 2015 | 10:37 am | Staff Writer
Originally Appeared In

Agonisingly human.

More Drug Church More Drug Church

Drug Church’s name is unorthodox yet fitting: it’s as bizarre as the band’s sound and as divergent as the band’s attitude. By all means, Drug Church are rebels – by shamelessly and fearlessly pointing fingers towards what it’s actually like to live in the 21st century, they shy away from conformity. Their sophomore EP ‘Swell’ is painfully real and offensively heartbreaking.

Opener ‘But Does It Work?’ is relatively melodic and a sign of what’s to come on the whole record: frustration and hopelessness. The noise-punk tinged tune leaves the question of ‘work for what?’ unanswered, but the dissatisfaction of the song’s voice is tangible. After all, ‘man and woman’, ‘man and man’ and ‘woman and woman’ all drive the singer to the same conclusion: ‘nothing works’.

‘Mall SWAT’ has an equally palpable outrage. You can genuinely hear vocalist Patrick Kindlon needing throat soothers in the song’s strains (an impression also reflected in the album’s closer). ‘Work-Shy’ is instrumentally fantastic – gloomy notes are layered with sudden, stunted lapses of guitar in its introduction. We’ll pretend that we weren’t just emotionally scarred by the lyric, ‘walk with your hands or have them cut off’.

If you’re open to the possibility of exposing your vulnerable selves to further emotional damage, ‘Ghost Dad’ has got you covered. Loud but flat, the track is intimidatingly and intimately personal. ‘Who needs a Dad?’ could be, perhaps, the most depressing question this record leaves you with.

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Unfortunately, ‘Zero Zero’ (not to be confused with the Gerard Way tune) doesn’t offer respite from the sadness that this EP engenders. Its urgency is reminiscent of Listener, and its vexation presents a similarity to Title Fight’s ‘Floral Green’.

Drug Church are disillusioned and honest, jarring and jaded, but most of all, discontent.

The ‘Swell’ EP is an emotional experience: the concept of music providing some form of therapeutic relief isn’t valid in regards to Drug Church. The band’s hopeless angst will appeal to the emptiness in your chest, but don’t think for a second that they have any intention of solacing you from the discomforts and dismays of the world that we live in. This EP will empathise with the holes in your heart, but it won't sew them up.

1. But Does It Work?

2. Mall SWAT

3. Work-Shy

4. Ghost Dad

5. Zero Zero