Review Summary: Hella important D.C. punk
Some of punk music’s greatest achievements relied on sociopolitical timing - knowing what to say and when to say it. It’s oddly fitting that some of the genre’s greatest testimonies stem from the U.S. capital: Bad Brains’ mixture of Rastafarianism and rejection of American materialism; Fugazi’s unique critical language; the revivalist, stereotype-challenging sentiment of Teen Idles. Pure Disgust’s first full-length effort is indicative of relevant cop-versus-community attitudes, and is 2016’s de facto punk anthem. It might be low-hanging fruit to touch on the themes of racial prejudice, but it’s almost unavoidable with the band not only dangling them in your face, but spitting out the seeds - let’s pretend that’s a clever metaphor for their brashness. Their brand of everyman Oi! and 80s-inspired hardcore punk touches on elements of identity abandonment (“Lost Child”), cycles of poverty (“Pipeline”), and denial (“White Silence”), while sounding pretty badass for a group of fresh-faced, chess-clubbing, whippersnapper types.
Thematically, Pure Disgust’s LP is what you’d want from angsty, politically-fuelled D.C. fervour. The sub-two-minute tracks aren’t exactly complex political analysis, and don’t really attempt to deconstruct the recent racial tensions, but rather dig at the base level of humanity. “Potential Criminal” and “Agents of the Machine" touch on the fickleness/ambiguity of morals in the judiciary system, and the never-ending debate of to what extent ”to serve and protect
” holds water. “White Silence” takes a jab at those who claim to be vanguards for equality, but only when called out as perpetrators of inequality. Suffice to say, Pure Disgust’s S/T is full of pertinent frustration. Still, it wouldn’t necessarily be a worthwhile listen without great instrumentation to boot. Sonically, it’s unwavering; it’s more of a mission statement than a purely artistic exercise. The aggressive, bellowing approach finds a balance from the get-go and maintains it for eighteen minutes, combining catchy drum work, memorable riffs, and gutsy vocals without any member hogging the spotlight; this approach would be unremarkable if not for the sheer devotion on display. One suspects Pure Disgust are actions-speak-louder-than-words advocates, and their sound encompasses the power of unity better than any amount of stonewalling ever will.