Following their debut for Hollywood punk's finest Epitaph, Years Of Potential Life Lost, Retox return with an equally manky and meaty effort. Beneath California sees them work to refine the rawness of their sound with crisper production and a super-tight rhythm section. Out on vinyl LP from Epitaph.
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- Beneath California by Retox
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Time for ye fine crusties and grinders to rejoice, for we seem to have some legit hardcore on our hands this week. Our scowling subjects are Retox, a band featuring expats of the Locust, doing pretty much what you’d expect from any Epitaph hardcore outfit: they borrow the metallic tremors and post-hardcore urgency of bands like Modern Life is War, Blacklisted and Gaza but add in snarling micro-aggressions of the underground, whether its via temperamental feedback, fast powerviolence bits or the occasional flurry of blastbeats. Sick.
‘Beneath California’ is hella serious, which is always a shock if the hardcore bands you spend your time listening to are from West Yorkshire (topics covered: cider, etc.), but it earns its right to be serious through its ferocious misanthropic tones. Justin Pearson makes for a thoroughly compelling frontman; it’s as if his motivation is to make Shellac a hardcore band, as he scream-mumbles his way through amazingly disdainful narratives that chastise a whole range of fools (namely: homophobes, kids from way back when and assorted jerks). The riffs are a great counterpoint to his fluid delivery; they’re a little more circular and mathy than your average hxc, which reads as an attempt to make the record a stuttery, awkward confrontation to those who hear it. The drums, they are also good: it’s hardcore, so that’s all the reassurance you need. They go.
Retox will appeal to those who like their hardcore both thrillingly direct and slightly diverted; they recall Botch on their speedy trail of destruction, as well as the distant, echoing skramz of Armchairpolitician, who are well missed. 'Beneath California' isn't imitation, though; it’s the work of veteran punks making something both thoughtful and intuitive.
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