In a genre plagued by trivial rules, hardcore group Drug Church has rebelled by making their catchiest and most accessible set of songs yet with Tawny. Three years after Cheer, their most promising record, the band marks a new chapter in their decade-long run with Tawny. Stepping onto flowery pastures with shimmering instrumentation, but leaving a foot dangling in the nihilistic ditch that audiences connected with upon introduction.
The opening track, “Head Off” could almost be a melancholy alt rock song from the 80s. The story runs slightly parallel to the blissful guitar tracks of the time, being another Drug Church story about the failings of man. However the influences are still clear, and they wear the new sound well.
The band falls back to their old sound more with stunning results on the title track. If it being the namesake of the EP didn’t make it clear enough, the band assures listeners that “Tawny” is centerpiece with the first rip on guitar. The journey is as unrelenting as it is gratifying with aggressive riffs and anarchic lyrics that sounds like the best of Drug Church turned up to 10. Singer Patrick Kindlon combines familiar social commentary with a newfound acceptance of how shitty life can be as the chorus hits. Rather than going by sticking their heads in ovens, a standout lyrical theme from Cheer, the band goes out in a fit of laughter.
Unafraid of death, the band uses “Bliss Out” as an interlude and final musing on what lies beyond the grave before closing out the project. It sounds closest to the music of the NY hardcore groups that preceded them. With a better sense of humor.
“Remember to Forget” ends the project with the same new light that it opened with. Lyrically, pop music is used as a metaphor for the futility of life. Musically, the band shows no animosity towards this style of music. The group is resolute in their decision to have a good time. If Tawny is any indication, more thrills are on the way.