Drug Church – ‘Hygiene’

By Katie Conway-Flood

For the past decade, Albany and Los Angeles five-piece outfit Drug Church have been a band making music fearlessly, not afraid to tred the delicate lines between aggressive post-hardcore and blazing post-punk. Never backing down from their voice – one that shouts about life’s dark moments and everyday discomfort with unflinching attitude – Drug Church have perhaps become one of the most singularly important bands in the hardcore scene over the past ten years. Now gearing up to drop their fourth full-length, ‘Hygiene’, the next bold leap forward in this chapter of Drug Church comes equipped with juxtaposition and contradiction, with lyrics that lean into life’s struggles and heaps of brash hardcore for good measure. 

This album leans on every element that made up their 2021 EP ‘Tawny’ and takes them a step further. It’s filled with fascinating vocal melodies and is emotionally weighted with great despair, and album opener ‘Fun’s Over’ finds the band amp up the full force guitars, with riffs that accelerate Drug Church into two-minute pure punk territory. 

Singles wise, ‘Million Miles Of Fun’, ‘Detective Lieutenant’, ‘World Impact’ and ‘Premium Offer’ all bring something distinct to the ‘Hygiene’ table. The first, ‘Million Miles Of Fun’, showcases another side to this otherwise hardcore and punk-heavy outfit. Poppy sounds and infectious hooks provide a surface for lyrics that depict the bleak state of the world. The second, ‘Detective Lieutenant’, is an embodiment of this band’s evolution, still retaining that post-punk instrumental style that’s distinctly Drug Church, meddled among mellow shimmering dream-pop guitars that glide in and out between tame and tranquil. Next up, the jangly ‘World Impact’ builds on these rattling drums to explode into a big attitude style chorus and lastly, ‘Premium Offer’ swerves away from what people might expect of the band at this point in their career, pushing themselves further afield into new sonic terrain, the song retaining that balance between vocal attack and joyous guitars.

Lyrically, ‘Tiresome’ takes every theme ‘Hygiene’ has to offer and throws them at the kitchen sink in a three minute time frame. Whirring around the same endless deluge of politics and mundanity that everyday life presents, the song aims to make us all realise how much time we are wasting on pointless politics, self-pity or useless information we get wrapped up on the daily.

Following on from ‘Piss & Quiet’, a tongue and cheek play on the typical phrase peace and quiet, comes album closer ‘Athlete On Bench’, a surprisingly upbeat and pop-punk leaning lasting impression, full of prominent bass lines, crashing drums and joyous guitar riffs. 

With ‘Hygiene’ coming in at under the half hour mark, Drug Church prove that time is of the essence as they come at you with all killer hardcore and punk bangers. There’s no time for filler here, making this short album more than worthy of its quality over quantity status with its ten track delivery. 

KATIE CONWAY-FLOOD

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