Lewd Acts – Black Eye Blues

Swagger.  The buzzword of the year.  It is uttered in just about every big rap song you hear, it is a common description in daily conversation, and it is solely associated with positivity.  There is no such thing as bad swagger – you see a member of the opposite sex walking down the street with that vibeThat is swagger.

Let’s expand the meaning of swagger just a bit.  Let’s put it in a more musical perspective.  Swagger is simply how one carries oneself, so let’s take that and apply it to a group of people – a band perhaps.  Hmm…but who? Let’s try and apply it to Deathwish prodigies Lewd Acts, a band with a lot of swagger.  That does sound good, doesn’t it?

Hardcore as a whole has been on the upturn as of late; before 2008 only a few memorable releases came out in the previous couple years, but it wasn’t until last year that the genre dominated the majority of year-end lists by heavy music elitists.  2009 has been pretty swell so far as well; Pulling Teeth released a brave album that is one of the year’s best, Coke Bust put out their best effort so far, Iron Age‘s newest is the best Metallica record since …And Justice For All, and the two Mercys (Mother of Mercy and Purple Mercy) made a definite name for themselves among the leaders of the scene.  These are just the releases I am able to list in my currently lazy state.  This has been a great year.  So great, that a new record a from bigger names like Lewd Acts may be easy to forget about.

Let’s get back to swagger, shall we? Why, out of any band I could have chosen, is Lewd Acts the band that has it? The simple version reads like this: the band has a bluesy, beer-and-whiskey injected aural density to their sound that you are not going to find very often.  The obvious bit of this is courtesy of vocalist Tyler Densley, but the rest becomes clear when you listen, really listen, to the band.  Little nuances – especially those sneaky chord progressions by guitarist Alex Jacobelli – are all over the place once you get intimate with the record.  But therein lies Black Eye Blues‘s biggest fault; it is not a record you will fully grow to love after one listen.  It is that fifth, tenth, twentieth, time that you will start to realize that those little things that held you back before make it a distinct and memorable listen now.

The range of the band is on full display for the majority of Black Eye Blues; from the Trap Them-ish “Wide Black Eyes” to the bluesy telltale “Who Knew the West Could Be So Cold”, Lewd Acts are a group who do all facets of hardcore well.  Additionally, the band rotates through short and long(er) tracks at a rate that keeps you on your toes; even the six-minute closer “Nowhere to Go” is worthy of a full listen.  The album’s proverbial cherry on top comes courtesy of the brilliantly titled “My Father Was a Locomotive” and “I Don’t Need You”, a song with a climax to…climax over.

Get ready to move around that list once again to make room for Black Eye Blues, you fucking elitist.  This is hardcore at its best.  This is hardcore with swagger.

(8.5/10)



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