ARTIST: DRUG CHURCH
LABEL: PURE NOISE
WORDS: CHRIS PRENATT
Drug Church are a fascinating band that never really get the respect or attention they deserve. The Albany, N.Y., group have been toiling around for years, playing a wonderful mixture of grunge and hardcore punk (think of Soundgarden meets Black Flag). But the thing is, no one cares to listen. They’d rather continue to listen to their Touché Amorés or their PUPs and avoid the awesomeness of these fine New York grunge punks. Their loss, they’re missing out on not only the band’s finest album ever, but arguably the finest album to come out in 2018.
‘Cheer’ is an album that is filled to the brim with relatable lyrics that anyone can decipher. You don’t need to be a music critic to figure them out. If you’re going through a rough patch in your life, depression, living in that weird point of life that is between adulthood and childhood, or that you’re life is at a standstill, then you will 100% find the ten songs off of ‘Cheer’ to be for you.
The band’s sardonic approach on things that are of social concern shines brightly on this album, and vocalist Patrick Kindlon’s songwriting feels like modern day poetry. Just listen to any song off of ‘Cheer’ and you will probably say to yourself, “Damn Patrick, I feel the same way.”
The album starts off with the short-yet-sweet song “Grubby”, a tale about how hard it is to adult when you still feel like a kid. It’s a relatable song for those who don’t know what to do with their adult lives after being a child and youthful for so long. “It’s hard to form adult connections/ When you sleep on turtle bedspreads/ I can fake my way through a date/ But I (can’t hide how child I am),” Kindlon belts out during the track. If you feel the same way Kindlon feels, he’s here for you, and this song is your new anthem.
“an album that is filled to the brim with relatable lyrics that anyone can decipher.”
But the relatable content doesn’t slow down. No, it just keeps on increasing like a tiny snowball that’s rolling down a mountain, picking up more snow and becoming a massive ball of ice crystals.
The best songs on the album have to be the most heavily connectable ones. “Avoidarama” is the perfect song for anyone who is dealing with depression and longing to stay alone as to not be a bother to anyone they care for. Not only does it deal with depression, but it talks about the mental issues we have that are winning and taking over our states of mind. “Unlicensed Guidance Counselor” features the touching lyrics “If you live long enough/ You’ll do something wrong enough/ That you feel shame enough/ To say enough’s enough”. “Weed Pin” deals with screwing up at work so badly that you get fired, and anyone who is working at a shitty job can scream “Fuck you at $12.50 an hour/ I should’ve started a chemical fire/ I should’ve burned this fucking place to the ground”. And “Foam Pit” paints the picture that we are trying to appear perfect for a job, but when it comes down to it, we’re really only there for the cash. We’re not climbing up the ladder for success, we are the ones holding it so that others can climb it.
Some songs on ‘Cheer’ can relate to other people like the depression song “Avoidarama” and the track about sucking at work called “Weed Pin”, but others can only relate to Kindlon himself. For example, the songs “Conflict Minded”, in which the title gives away what the song is about, and “Strong References”, a song about his brief modeling career. In “Strong References”, he sings about modeling in the buff and that he did it solely “for the money”. He belts out, “See, I told you so/ Just admit it/ You are the next big thing/ This shoot is pure gold”. Hell, he compares himself to Madonna’s ex-boyfriend Tony Ward, a successful model. And on “Conflict Minded”, he sings about how he is “just a magnet for negativity” and that he catches “most people only on their worst days”.
“‘Cheer’ isn’t just another hardcore punk record, it’s a record that makes you think. You could probably write a thesis paper about this record if you wanted to.”
The energy found on this album ranges between rough or fast (“Grubby”, “Dollar Story”, “Conflict Minded”) to soft or slow (“Foam Pit”, “Avoidarama”, “Unlicensed Guidance Counselor”). Even the strangest additions like the acoustic guitar on “Dollar Story” to Husbandry’s Carina Zachary’s soft and pleasing vocals on “Conflict Minded” (she perfectly balances Drug Church’s rough style) flow so well on ‘Cheer’ .
On their third full-length album and first with new label Pure Noise Records (Boston Manor, Less Than Jake, Sanction), Drug Church go beyond their limits and create an album a whole generation can connect to spiritually and mentally. It’s an album for those who are lost in life and are just struggling with either personal demons, depression, or that damn bump in the road. ‘Cheer’ isn’t just another hardcore punk record, it’s a record that makes you think. You could probably write a thesis paper about this record if you wanted to.
Overall, ‘Cheer’ is the band’s finest creation to date, hitting topics that easily grab the listeners’ attention. It’s not just an album, it’s an experience, and it truly is an experience that you need to have.