Review Summary: Hardcore that really hits the spot... and I mean like every spot- almost painfully so.
Ever been hit with a sandblaster? Well, either way, please let me describe it to you:
I had my experience with the pulverizing machine once, and I don’t need another. Body parts you didn’t know existed will sting. You’ll find inklings of sand ingrained into your skin; and trust me, it’s not as fun as finding, let’s say... a tick on you. To be as blunt as a sandblaster with you, I wouldn’t wish this experience on anybody else. Thankfully, Punch aren’t exactly
like a sandblaster. In fact, the passionate delivery and intelligent songwriting on Push Pull
is anything but machinelike. Still, the unbridled ferocity and the “stabbing in the ears sensation” you’re likely to feel when listening to Punch at high volumes (not recommended) couldn’t help but remind me of being pulverized by sand. Push Pull
certainly is irate, blunt, and accelerated, and the unrelenting anger leads me to believe that Punch absolutely must
have found some inspiration in Yosemite Sam, or perhaps Mike Tyson. Nevertheless, the hardcore outfit from San Francisco that shares two members of Loma Prieta have released an intense onslaught of 100m.p.h. hardcore- angry, breakdown-laden hardcore, and it couldn’t be more satisfying.
“But didn’t Loma Prieta themselves already release a fiery little LP this summer?”
you may find your inquisitive self asking. Oh inquisitive you, just take my word for it: Life/Less
pales in comparison to the impassioned ire of Push Pull
. Like a fu
cking sandblaster, Punch hits you from every angle. Shrill, pulverizing female shrieking in the vocal department? Check. Blistering breakdowns? Check. Fantastic instrumentation, particularly Punch’s ability to perform seamless transitions? Checkity check. A breakneck intensity that doesn’t pull any punches
(I told myself I wouldn’t, but it’s just too
easy). Check, check, double check!
You see, it’s a tad ironic to compare Punch to some of their members’ other band, Loma Prieta even though the two lie in different genres, because Punch essentially succeed where Loma Prieta lets me down. Throughout the assault of spine-tingling fury, Punch work within the realms of an intelligent song structure. Perfectly-placed breakdowns become a highlight on Push Pull,
oddly enough. Try listening to “Fixation,” “Sour Grapes,” “Microcausm,” or practically any track without being impressed by their ability to set the songs up so efficiently, I dare you. While it’s easy generic hardcore bands that copy to wear their oh-so-unhappy
hearts on their sleeves with vehement vocals and potent, lightning-fast musicianship, Punch separate themselves from the pack by reminding us that hardcore can have a brain, too.
It’s the coherency of Push Pull
that you’re going to find most gratifying on repeated listens. For example, the lyrics aren’t brain-dead, either. Listening to the pain stricken delivery of the vocals, it’s evident that the lyrics share more in common with screamo than they do with hardcore- as indicated by the insane number of question marks. You’re not just getting yelled at violently for 16 minutes. No, you’re being begged politely how you feel about consumerism or perhaps feminism, for instance. Well, admittedly that’s a bit of a stretch; but the intelligence and coherence of Push Pull is certainly striking, and it’s the feature that makes me want to hear this searingly-sounding, sandblaster-like, ear-tormenting ordeal again and again.