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Album Review: Cheer by Drug Church

Drug Church released their new album Cheer on 2nd November via Pure Noise Records. Drug Church–Patrick Kindlon (vocals), Nick Cogan (guitar), Cory Galusha (guitar), Pat Wynne (bass), and Chris Villeneuve (drums)–have earned a cult following by making outsider music that’s as thoughtful as it is hard hitting. Their sound is a crushing mix of hardcore energy, ‘90s alternative melodicism, and Kindlon’s signature sing-shout; if that doesn’t exactly fit into a convenient box, it’s because the most intentional thing about Drug Church is knowing the value of being unintentional. Kindlon says, “If I have any success I’d like it to be just because people like the thing, not because I sat in a dark room learning brand alchemy.” Adding a sardonic twist to the just-be-yourself mantra, he contends, “If you don’t lie then you don’t have to worry about maintaining the lie.”

Cheer is Drug Church’s strongest and most immediate album. Rather than going for a delineated heavy or catchy track that has defined their album/EP structure to date, the band have decided to combine their strengths and create 10 tracks that do both. Galusha and Cogan’s riffs deftly move from pummeling to playful while Wynne and Villeneuve provide more than enough heft to compel the headbangers. Songs like ‘Unlicensed Guidance Counselor’, ‘Conflict Minded’ and ‘Tillary’ are easily the most overtly melodic of the band’s career, and even Kindlon’s vocals take a more tuneful bent that often contrasts with his dark, cutting lyrics.

This is a sound of Drug Church doing what they want, how they want. “I’m not gonna be told how to live by literally anybody on earth,” says Kindlon. It gives the album a freedom and sense of vitality that might have been missing from previous releases.

While there isn’t a weak track on the album, it’s unlikely to blow you away or be anything more than good. It’s strong and impressive and certainly shows the band are on the up. The aggression is infectious, and you can lose yourself in the defiant and dark lyrics.

AD Rating 6/10

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