Post hardcore is a tricky word, a broad term and a misleading genre, it conjures up Daryl Palumbo screams in the one hand, 90s Drive Like Jehu/Bob Mould schtick in the other and at the drive-in’s straight up ass kickery in the figurative third hand. Luckily I’m a fan of all aspects of the frankly quite antiquated term so Asylums are my bag.Last night was the album launch, which stacks the deck against or for the group depending on your viewpoint, the cumulative pressure of all the writing, rehearsing, gigging, touring, recording and mixing can either burden a band or propel them onto another plane.
Though it seems the guys were a little ‘on the spot’ for much of the set I could tell they were putting great care into performing as best they could, but it’s just funner seeing a band get a little loose and start to realise it’s just abit of rock and roll at the end of the day and they should have fun with it. They totally achieved this by the end and I think the crowdsurfing was enough evidence of propelling here.
Each band member is pivotal in pushing the show forward. Luke Branch is the result of Cedric Bixler-Zavala and Omar Rodriguez-Lopez melted in the microwave that graces the Asylums LP cover, all high pitched yelps and atonal chords. Jazz Miell crowbars his guitar through a maelstrom of fuzz and chorus pedals which sound like Kurt Cobain and Mark Arm having a guitar-off, messy in timbre but graceful in his timing, although these two’s qualities wouldn’t be delivered half as well if it wasn’t for the airtight rhythm section of Henry Tyler and Michael Webster holding the pounding beat with Tony Hajjar grade drumming and David Wm. Sims basslines.The standout tracks here are the poppier numbers, ‘Joy in a small wage’ has all the guitar lead work of a Graham Coxon record and ‘Bad Influence’ has it’s tinges of River’s Cuomo chord structures with that Superchunk sheen found on all the best 90s indie rock records. They excel at writing a great pop number with overt discordant inspiration. Though they’re less obvious influences like Dismemberment Plan, Polvo and Unwound may be lost on some people, there’s nothing here to suggest that you shouldn’t be holding them in the same regard that lesser punk acts are being held in.
Overall the guys put on a killer show but I feel they played it cool and were a little more reserved than usual, there’s some live vids kicking around on youtube (which I advise checking out whole heartedly) which suggest they were keeping their cards close to their chest on this one and they’re totally comfortable and capable of knocking it out the park.