Tone Deaf Records

New - Drug Church - Hygiene - LP

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Limited Colored Vinyl

With each successive release Drug Church have been pushing the seemingly intractable elements of their sound further and further. Where their critically acclaimed 2018 album, Cheer, brought more melody into the band's combustible music, Hygiene doubles down without losing an ounce of bite in the execution.

Hygiene is in fact an incredibly appealing album despite being difficult to categorize – or perhaps because of it. Recorded with producer/engineer Jon Markson and clocking in at a lean 26 minutes, the record makes it abundantly clear that Drug Church aren't content to rest on their laurels. Across ten strikingly dynamic songs, Cogan and Galusha alternate between massive riffs and some of the most unexpectedly melodic guitar playing that has ever touched Drug Church's music, while Villeneuve and Wynne's rhythm section unflaggingly shakes the ground. The band's foundation in hardcore still provides plenty of stagedive-inspiring energy, but even Kindlon's signature roar has taken a tuneful turn with layered vocals, raw harmonies, and cadences hooky enough to have listeners shouting along after one listen.

While Hygiene is an undeniable leap forward for Drug Church, it's not one made by some grand design. In fact, band's writing process is refreshingly mystique-free: the instrumentalists simply hone the songs until they're ready to show them to Kindlon, who offers "intentionally unhelpful notes" before writing most of his lyrics under the gun in the studio. "The beauty that happens here is accidental," he explains. "It's not that musicians have some insight into the world, it's just that by doing something in art you can trip over these transcendent moments – but you can't endeavour to make them."

It's a fitting approach that's also reflected in Kindlon's lyrics, many of which deal with the relationship between art and the people consuming it. There's a blunt-yet-affecting quality that appears throughout Hygiene, as he walks a tightrope between observation, honesty, absurdity, frustration, and humor – all with a willingness to question the messier parts of modern life that many would prefer to simply ignore. "Whatever milieu we're living in right now is not one I was intended for," he says. "The conversation is not asking us to personally challenge ourselves or try to better ourselves. It's a push to be in other people's business and judge each other all the time. And I have no interest in judging strangers."