Drug Church – Tawny


Artist: Drug Church

Album: Tawny

Label: Pure Noise Records

Release Date: 25/06/2021

Country: United States

Originally written for 4ZZZ

For all intents and purposes Tawny is presented as a bridge between two Drug Church albums, that being 2018’s Cheer and an impending fourth album yet to come to fruition. I myself have been conducting a bridge-building exercise by vivaciously consuming a myriad of podcasts helmed by Drug Church’s frontman Patrick Kindlon. My own feat of engineering content viaducts has, to some extent, held water for my general excitement regarding the Albany / Los Angles band’s ability to thread obtuse outside guitar music with palpable scumbag soliloquies and presents them in a way that makes your mundane job at the processing plant pass along a tad smoother.

Three songs and a cover keep this release slim. Slim but not without a plethora of obnoxious riffs, melodies that abruptly ask your sense of beauty to do one in order to accept it, and idiosyncratic shouting-with-a-hint-of-a-tune stories of a middle mass that is entrenched and deeply immobilised.

Head-Off opens and closes in the same fashion: an airy space rife with muted fidelity being filled by tight drum booms and whistled feedback. Between those two book ends, the mechanical drums march. Over the parading beat flows watery guitars. These shimmering but ugly melodies never sound quite right and I think that’s very much part of their appeal.

In amongst Tawny’s overall brawn we find a barely concealed and vehement conniption over group-think, leading to social executions, that remove a person’s ability to earn a living as a result. The title track approaches this crabs-in-a-bucket mentality through a banger of a song. “They lower their radio to listen to you die” / “Your lonely gravesite…nobody visits in the daylight” are lines showing these crabs enjoy the group sport despite the cognitive dissonance regarding the shame of doing the dirty to their own crab kin.

While it was an outlier without any tangible links on its initial release last year, Bliss Out comes into its own in Tawny’s surrounds. An out-and-out exposé of Ronnie Coleman riffs, dripping with hardcore’s fury, while lamenting a perceived run of unending bad luck. It’s this defeatist catharsis that drew me to Drug Church back in the day and has kept me invested ever since. Defeatist despondence is turned to a bemused distraction and escapism as the five piece take on Arcwelder’s Remember To Forget. A cover that works well in context of the release and additionally had me going through Arcwelder’s catalogue, which in and of itself is a bonus. A solid cover that fits and turns you onto a new band is grouse and well, you can’t want more than that can you, you greedy little git?

With a new album being teased in the intermediate future, Tawny more than occupies its four song length. Diverging into the two strains Drug Church now inhabit, the band cleverly straddles awkward melodic beauty and blatant six string bullying in equal measure. This EP, despite its rather morbid distaste for its fellow man, has me filled with ample hope for the future. I’ll be going back to the podcasts to hear Rubmap review, Citizen app drama, and like-minded nonsense but returning to the piety of Drug Church by spreading their sermon is a much more effective use of time.

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