Graduating Life

Grad Life

Written by: PP on 20/12/2018 06:07:21

"Don't you agree? If my happiness has to be enforced, then it wasn't meant to be., brawls Bart Thompson during one of the most intensely emotional moments of "Grad Life", the sophomore album by Graduating Life. It's the kind of deeply introspective and bitter lyricism that launched Polar Bear Club into stardom on their brilliant debut "Sometimes Things Just Disappear", and stylistically, we're not too far off either.

Thompson's gravelly, raspy vocals parallel those of Jimmy Stadt prior to his vocal issues, delivered with a similar vitriolic passion as Touché Amoré and La Dispute records early in their respective careers. The resulting expression is a raw, honesty-driven soundscape fueled by emotional charge, punk ethos, and nuances of post-hardcore in perfect symbiosis. It sounds huge when it needs to - there are moments that remind me of My Chemical Romance during "Three Cheers For A Sweet Revenge" years - but more often than not, the band breaks it down into an intense, intimate expression that's characterized by catchphrases that stick with you for weeks. There are heartfelt stories about family dysfunction ("Don't Have Kids Reunion") and aggressive outpours of emotional charge ("Stinky Man"), but the reason these stand out in a crowded scene is because of the rhythmic and piercing vocal performance by Thompson.

Together with the punk-laden instrumentals, the Graduating Life expression is irresistible, culminating in the ambitious and anthemic "Finale" that closes the album in a perfect storm of emo/post-hardcore/punk with effect-laden keyboards that have popped on and off throughout the record reminding you of Horse The Band's playful Nintendocore from a decade ago. The end result is an album's worth of raw anthems that are among the best songs this year for the crowd that doesn't like too much polish in their music. This is roughened, aggressive, edgy music in genres that lately have eschewed those values in favour of clean production and pitch-perfect soundscapes. On "Grad Life", we get a raw outtake of how emotional charge is supposed to sound like when packaged around infectiously catchy songwriting and honesty-driven lyricism.

Download: Carry A White Flag, Finale, Family Reunion, Stinky Man, It's A Second Year, Don't Have Kids
For the fans of: Polar Bear Club, Touché Amoré, La Dispute, (old) My Chemical Romance
Listen: Facebook

Release date 02.09.2018
Open Door Records

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