The quintessential Every Time I Die record is a total ripper.
New Junk Aesthetic, the band’s 5th release, grinds to a start with the slow burning “Roman Holiday” and ejects with “The Marvelous Slut.” It’s like a lullaby followed up with a haymaker. But like an abusive relationship, you keep getting back up knowing you’ll be knocked down.
New Junk is a lot more of what fans (also known as “ETIDiots”) have come to expect from the Buffalo-based metalcore outfit: next level lyrics from an English teacher moonlighting in a punk rock band (“Turtles All The Way Down”), tracks that foster a certain kind of aggression that can only be satisfied by circle pitting (“For the Record”) or two-stepping (“White Smoke”), and an emphasis on party anthems (“The Sweet Life”).
But unlike its predecessors Gutter Phenomenon and The Big Dirty, New Junk doesn’t get caught up on itself, sagging halfway through. While “Organ Grinder” does serve as the album’s low point, the band quickly rebounds with crowd-pleaser “After One Quarter of a Revolution” – which is, in my estimation, the most punk you’ll ever see ETID.
I can’t let an ETID album review go by without paying closer attention to vocalist Keith Buckley’s lyrics. They’re at times dense, but a good dense, not head-scratching nonsense.
One song in particular (from the extended release) is “Goddamn Kids These Days” – not a specific knock on young people themselves, but from what I gather, on the effects that our pervasive pop culture has on them.
I’m pinned between the egos and the drones
Pride has been called to arms
Goddamn kids have grown up to let down
All around us are dissonant sounds
We’re misplaced and we’ll never be found
All these kids have grown up to let down
If this is the state of my art
Then I secede
We’re walking Spanish down a plank that stretches miles
You are not yet fit to speak on my behalf
What a shame we’re forced
To suffer this senselessness and insanity.
This passage may reflect more on politics, but I took it as a statement on popular culture and the youth of today. I may be completely off the mark, but that’s why I can appreciate Buckley’s words: they’re open to mass interpretation and critical scrutiny.
New Junk is a significant highlight in the band’s discography. And for what it’s worth, it’s probably my favorite release of theirs.
Interesting note: all of the album’s art was created by vocalist Keith Buckley’s brother, Jordan, who also serves as lead guitarist for the band. Multi-talented people drive me crazy because they seem to be tops at everything they do. The guitar work on this album is stupid fast and furious, and the man can pen draw too?! C’mon. Not fair. Here’s the whole piece from which the album art was “sampled”:
From their 2011 release New Junk Aesthetic, here’s “The Sweet Life” –
Standout tracks: “Wanderlust” and “The Marvelous Slut” and “After One Quarter of a Revolution”
Weakest track: “Organ Grinder”
RIYL: Hardcore, post-hardcore, post-punk, metalcore. Norma Jean, The Chariot, Glassjaw.