free download! black on black’s new ep “let’s get cynical” is maximum loud. turn it up. #soundcheck

June 12, 2013

It doesn’t matter how many times I’m told not to judge a book by its cover, nothing can earn my love or scorn faster than an album title (speaking of which, Kayne, we need to talk about Yeezus. Really? Really?). I don’t know what it is about Let’s Get Cynical from Lawrence, Kansas’ Black on Black. Maybe it’s the self facing eye roll of a total 180 from Olivia Newton John’s immortal ode to milquetoast mediocrity. Or maybe it’s just the way the title perfectly matches the simultaneously ferocious and world-weary contents of the EP.

But there’s a lot more to be excited about here than clever word play. Let’s Get Cynical inhabits the delicate no-man’s land between punk rock and indie. Noisy but tuneful, aggressive but not afraid to slow it down for a second. It’s the territory charted by hardcore disciples like Rites of Spring, Lungfish, and Dinosaur Jr. Opening track “Black Geometry” sets the stage for the rest of the record: everything is distorted just to the point of chaos. Singer Wade builds from a melodic coon to a Cobain-eqsue cracked scream. With guitar and drums handling rhythm in bursts of noise, the bass ends up handling the majority of the melody. It’s almost like Flipper if Bruce Loose gave a damn about actually singing and not just trolling the audience.

There’s not a bad song on the EP, and despite the constant maximum-loud, Black on Black ends up showing considerable range. While “Ripped” wouldn’t have sounded out of place in 1985’s revolution summer, album closer “Dig Your Own Grave” finds a surprising amount of beauty within the murk. The whole record is available on a pay-what-you-can basis through the music player above. Definitely check this one out.

– Words by Nathan Leigh

* Banner photo by Fally Afani of I Heart Local Music