Taking Meds
I Hate Me


4.5
superb

Review

by decisions USER (8 Reviews)
August 8th, 2019 | 16 replies


Release Date: 2019 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A sonic hatred that is easy to love.

I’ve often said that Such Gold is the most underrated punk band of the modern era. A strong discography (10 years in the making) has earned the band little more than a dedicated fanbase that often feels like a niche of a niche of the scene. So, when lead vocalist/guitarist Ben Kotin and bassist Jon Markson teamed up with ex-Such Gold member Skylar Sarkis (who takes Ben’s place here for lead vocal duties) to start a new band, the one that brings us this album, I was a bit confused. Initially it seemed to fill a similar role to the band it stemmed from, and while I enjoyed their previous album, Life As A Bro, I was left a bit confused as to why the best ideas from that record weren’t just being used for Such Gold songs.

Well, after listening to this album, I finally get it.

With I Hate Me, the band has really upped the ante from the previous record to deliver something that feels cohesive, varied, and enjoyable start to finish. Considered in conjunction with that album, this feels like a considerable improvement. The record is no longer comprised of stretches of serviceable songs that feel like superfluous interims between the highlights. All of the songs on I Hate Me have memorable moments - hooks that engage the listener before they have a chance to appreciate the beauty of the all the math madness going on.

It really can’t be overstated how important this is, as this is something that instrumentally-skilled musicians can easily fail to achieve. Each song having a trademark “moment” sets up I Hate Me to be a real grower right from the beginning, and it was essential in my experience with the album that led me to ultimately loving it as much as I do now. After a first listen, I couldn’t really say that I “loved” the album. Yet, it established to me that it had depth and intrigue, and although I couldn’t quite come to a conclusion on how I felt about it, I knew that I would be coming back to find out just what that conclusion would be.

So what are some of these moments" Album opener “Big Fish” culminates with these eerie, powerful gang vocals that roar out a memorable melody which demands attention. 
Next, title track “I Hate Me" fires out of the gate with Skylar Sarkis’ effective harsh vocals, culminating with a sorrowful, winding guitar line that eases the listener into the next track. Similar parts appear a few more times throughout the album, such as during “The Problem”, which is certainly one of the more atmospheric tracks here. There’s even more straightforward, melodic tracks such as the “Stranger Who Stares” and “There’s No Way”, which serve to round out the album’s more accessible side. Ultimately, I found that each song gave me a reason to remember it, which of course makes the album feel strong as a whole.

In this way, the album also achieves a strong sense of cohesion, which it capitalizes on with certain recurring ideas and leitmotifs. A titular refrain occurs throughout the album, in a sort of haunting manner, popping up during intense moments such as the breakdown at the end of “Lifer”. Anyone who has ever dealt with depression/self-loathing will likely find this little touch hauntingly relatable. You meet many different problems, but once things to start to break down all of these different issues seemed to be backed by a single foundation: I hate me. Perhaps then, they all have a single solution" For me, this sobering theme is what the album primarily communicates.

Overall, I Hate Me feels calculated, emotional, and professional, which highlights the point I’ve beaten to death about this group of songwriters: they don’t get nearly as much credit as they should. Also, I've yet to mention Dan Abzug's work on this album, but let it be known that the drumming here is absolutely incredible start to finish, with unique beats and good usage of dynamics peppered throughout the entire thing. I encourage any fans of punk or alternative rock who want something with a little more depth, nuance, and straight up weirdness to check this record out. I have no doubt it is one of the most interesting and memorable punk records that 2019 will bring.



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user ratings (11)
Chart.
3.2
good


Comments:Add a Comment 
Gyromania
August 8th 2019


28227 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

nice review

BlushfulHippocrene
Staff Reviewer
August 8th 2019


2995 Comments


Yeah, a couple moments with awkward expression and some repetition, but otherwise really good review. Going to check this out.

Digging: Florist (NY) - Emily Alone

decisions
August 8th 2019


395 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Hey thanks! Any feedback is appreciated.



Felt this really deserved a review, and I don't think anyone else was going to write it. It's funny because after "Tough Guy" dropped I didn't even think I would like it but I ended up loving that song and the rest of the album, as I described above.



Holy crap this got featured! Thanks! I hope that gives this album some exposure

BlushfulHippocrene
Staff Reviewer
August 8th 2019


2995 Comments


Some minor edits if you can be bothered: should italicise Life As A Bro in the first para; I reckon the "who" in "the one who brings us this album" shoud be "that" just to avoid confusion; watch for that upper-case "I" in "Initially It". Not that they matter too much.

I reckon, also, (and this is personal preference) that you should've gone a bit deeper into the comparison with bands that are instrumentally sound though fail to capitalise on hooks, thematic cohesion, etc., in particular (I assume) Such Gold. Would've rounded the review off really well, I think.

Anyway, though, again, really good review, keep it up.

SowingSeason
Moderator
August 8th 2019


31942 Comments


I know this isn't recent up-to-the-week, but I like to throw the occasional bone where the writer clearly put in a good deal of effort. Also, the end of the music week has been slow.

Digging: Off With Their Heads - Be Good

BlushfulHippocrene
Staff Reviewer
August 8th 2019


2995 Comments


It's also a real good album (so far), god damn.

MarsKid
Contributing Reviewer
August 8th 2019


9962 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Not a bad write-up, agreed with previous comments. Wish this grabbed me but it loses appeal pretty early on.

Digging: WRVTH - No Rising Sun

likeshad0ws
August 8th 2019


91 Comments


Oh hey, Ben from this band sexually assaulted my old roommate in our house this past winter.

ian b
August 8th 2019


439 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

well now i feel weird for digging this if that's really the case. that's fucking awful yeesh

Digging: Touche Amore - Dead Horse X

keza
August 9th 2019


405 Comments


Fucking hell. If that's true that's fucked. And I was right about to spin this thing too...

decisions
August 9th 2019


395 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

@BlushfulHippocrene Thanks for the feedback! I made most of those changes. Although I don't think Such Gold is one of those bands, if it came off that way in the review. I like pretty much all of their stuff, The New Sidewalk is really a modern classic IMO.



Also, I'm really sorry if that happened, but it's going to take more than a single internet comment for me to cancel someone. If more stuff comes out I will keep this accusation in mind, and give them more weight in combination with this.

ian b
August 9th 2019


439 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i mean i sort of agree, but the reason these things don't come out is because people are scared to come out about them (especially if they feel like they're the only one) so i'm not gonna discount until something countering it comes out or if more allegations come out. but yeah i mean, for right now like you said i'm not gonna "cancel" them but that doesn't mean you shouldn't believe the victim. anyways, it's never a bad thing to separate the art from the artist (except in cases a la Jesse Lacey where those issues come up in the art) so i wouldn't say you SHOULDN'T jam this album, because it's legitimately an incredible expression artistically, but if you don't want to/can't, then i understand ofc. just wanted to give my two cents that no one gives a shit about lmao

decisions
August 9th 2019


395 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Haha no worries I think your take is pretty reasonable and agree with most of it. Just also consider that the "victim" themselves hasn't actually said anything.



Anyways, yeah I'm much too stuck on this to get into new Slipknot right now haha.



LOSE THE HAND, SAVE THE BODY



LOVE MY HAND, HATE MY BODY



Some great lyrics on here too.





(EDIT: why does it look like sputnik is putting two breaks where I only want one:/)



Gyromania
August 9th 2019


28227 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Gotta say I think the album is pretty mediocre and just downright generic/bad in a lot of parts. Not my thing at all.

decisions
August 9th 2019


395 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

That's totally understandable, I don't really think this is an album for everyone. A lot of the song structures are just really weird, and took a while to click for me. Personally I find the instrumentation to be better than the vast majority of bands in the genres this pulls from. I also really like Skylar's vocals, I guess I could see how someone cold find them generic but it's easy for me to dislike vocalists who overdo it or fail to communicate emotion; the vocals here are really effective for me.



Stranger Who Stares is definitely the most accessible song though if anyone wants to start with that before trying the whole thing.

9Hammer
August 11th 2019


212 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I liked this quite a bit.



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