This Philadelphia post punk band has been pummeling our ears since 2006, and this latest album is no exception. Vocalist Pat McCay sounds a bit like Greg Sage at times, and I swear the band is channeling Adrian Borland at his darkest moments. Yet there are moments of pure beauty when the light bursts through, such as the almost cheery sounding “New Year’s Eve”. Everyone will hear something different, though I doubt anyone will miss Joy Division as an influence. I also appreciate the thoughtful lyrics on this song, they sound almost wistful.
“This Time” is mesmerizing and glum, and this is where the guitar work reminded me of The Sound. The plain-spoken lyrics are eerie and the guitar trips underneath like a dark current. “Can We Skip This?” is lush by comparison, and there’s an uptick in positive energy. “Everything You Feel Good About” is grand and throws down a bit of New Order panache, especially in that familiar bass line. Is Peter Hook on board? It definitely has single potential!
“Wound” meanders down a dark wave path and I love the repeating piano line that darts in and out of the mix. “Worry” hovers on the edges of psych with its watery guitar lines flowing like silver liquid. It reminds me a bit of the times when Robert Smith flirted with spacey textures. Pretty stuff!
“Never Say Goodbye” is a swell, synth pop tune, sounding quite unlike the band’s other tunes here. “How Does it Feel”? has a stately, dark structure, and guitars barely restrain their rage as misery pours down on the listener. I love the hard charging cadence here, a marked difference to the somewhat lighter fare earlier on. “Discard” is the filigreed coda, an almost warm and fizzy slice of dream pop that hints at future directions for this talented group. Nice work all around, and recommended from this picky scribe.
Reviewed by Elizabeth Klisiewicz
Fall Protection releases on Friday, October 26, 2018.