Drug Church – ‘Cheer’

By Renette van der Merwe

Okay, so Drug Church’s latest slice of punk heaven is here, and it’s bloody fantastic.

The five-piece, originally born out of Albany only to be “sucked into the fast life” of LA, first bared their teeth with a couple of demo songs in late-2011 and enjoyed a pretty meteoric rise from there. Signing to No Sleep Records in 2012 before releasing their acclaimed debut, ‘Paul Walker’, the very next year and following it up with 2015’s ‘Hit Your Head’. Now, they’re back with a blend of grunge and punk that’s so wonderfully threaded throughout every fibre of ‘Cheer’.

It all kicks off with the filthy guitar riff of ‘Grubby’. Short, but punchy, the track gives the listener an exact insight of what to expect; an album gritty enough to assure you that you’re listening to a punk band whilst also being melodic in a way that showcases an intelligence for catchy song structures. Lyrically, it’s got front man Patrick Kindlon’s stamp all over it. That brand of satirical storytelling that shines brightly on songs like ‘Weed Pin’ and ‘Avoidarama’.

Sonically, tracks like ‘Unlicensed Hall Monitor’ are likely to remind you of FIDLAR and skate punk bands akin, while ‘Strong References’ may invoke a serious sense of nostalgia with it’s Blink-182-esque (think ‘Violence’) guitar riffs and a Fugazi-type bassline. Despite a few strewn Easter eggs, Drug Church’s sound is still their own Frankenstein’s monster. Put together and patched up to create something brutal, unique and unapologetic to which ‘Cheer’ is another manifesto.

With the album clocking in just under thirty minutes, it’s a quick ride, true to the spirit of punk, but it’s a good one. Short, relentless and without fuss, yet uncompromising when it comes to the overall quality. Littered with hooks, ‘Cheer’ is easily one of the most infectious masterpieces of the year and this from a band who’ve never been serious about taking themselves seriously.

Sure to please longtime fans, it’s also bound to beckon in a whole new flock of Drug Church followers who certainly won’t be disappointed by this tour de force.

RENETTE VAN DER MERWE

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