Snarky Sacred Bones punks Institute return for more of their old-school scowling, holding down the fortress of no frills garage fuckery long after every other band on the label has decided to honour psych rock, B-movies or Nick Cave. Hot off of the fiery scarred chords of Salt EP, they serve up Catharsis to all who like this kind of thing. I hope you like acoustic ditties from punx too, because you're gonna get them here.
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- Catharsis by Institute
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Institute, the latest nihilist grumps on Sacred Bones, did a perfectly good job of sounding precisely like a punk band and nothing more on their debut EP last year. They were suitably fast, impressively tight and surprisingly well-produced (well, suitably produced -- you don’t ask Coldplay to step into Steve Albini’s recording studio, do you?), and lead singer Moses Brown wheezed ‘til his voice box needed new batteries. Now they have a big ten-song strong release, and things are very much staying the course: their sometimes post, always moody punk, is doing just fine.
So yeah, more details: It’s called ‘Catharsis’, which I would term a very bold move, since it’s up to unqualified music crits to designate records “cathartic”, based on how proportionally related to our lives any album is. The point might be that wringing catharsis out of music as well calibrated as this is a feat; as with the ‘Salt’ EP, you can hear Institute showing their working, and in the best way. The basslines rumble quite eternally, and you can hear them travelling song to song with both joy and urgency -- occasionally the band let up and make you listen to one its own, just to show how good their bassist is -- “Cheerlessness” lets one whittle away as the band groan guitar chords and hopeless spoken word around it.
“Cheerlessness” actually serves as a good summation of Institute as a whole -- this dynamic, disciplined band who stick to their rhythm duties at all cost are lent rage and fury by lead singer Brown, who can spit and spew and lose his shit over the hardest work. I will also add that “Untitled” sounds a bit like Women on their self-titled debut, trying out tinny guitar experiments and presenting to them in whatever which way; “Leathernecks” is a bold post-punk jam that seems to subliminally tinker with acoustic guitars in its backdrop, if only to lend the punk sanctimoniousness some warmth. Once you’ve gotten to the end of it all, with Brown's gulping, frenzied vocals on "Christian Right", you’ll wonder what came first: making the album or toasting to its completion.
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