Review Summary: Fifteen minutes or less? Check. Pissed off lyrics? Check. Okay sounds good to me.
Hardcore is not my favorite genre. Nine out of ten times, I would rather listen to something with a bit of melody. Perhaps it’s the immediacy of something with a good tune to it, but I simply find hardcore to be difficult to digest a lot of the time. Retox’s 2011 LP, Ugly Animals
, is a reminder that fast, noisy music doesn’t always have to be that way. In just 13 blistering minutes, front man Justin Pearson expels his hatred for the human race over groovy, yet equally chaotic riffs. The vocals are distorted and unrelenting from start to finish. For someone to simply listen to this album completely ignoring its subject matter, the music alone will make you want to punch the next disgusting human being you see directly in their stupid face (that’s a good thing). To add to the instrumental aggression, Pearson’s sardonic storytelling, starring us, the “ugly animals,” brings the anger to a whole new level. We are lucky, spoiled, and thoughtless creatures, and admittedly, we do make for an interesting story.
What sets Ugly Animals
apart from other “I’m unhappy with the world and everyone in it” hardcore, is the truly creative nature of the lyrics. They aren’t mature and polished, or straight forward for that matter; they are sloppy, but witty and humorous. Take the second track, Thirty Cents Shy of a Quarter
, for example. It reads, in its entirety, “Lucky fuck fell in a river and only got dusty/Lucky fuck is a success, but lucky fuck feels like a fake/The million dollar question: Just how much is lucky fuck's money worth to him when he is dead" A success, a success!”
Every other song on the album is similar both lyrically and structurally, so Ugly Animals
may seem repetitive to some. However, a constant approach works for the band, and luckily there is no seven-minute, “experimental” track to disrupt the flow of the album. This theme of consistency is one that applies to the whole album; Retox waste no time dabbling where it is unnecessary, and in doing so put out one of the most underrated hardcore records of 2011.