aligns’ new ‘duology’ is loud as f#$k

January 9, 2019
70 Picks

For the 200 or so of us crammed into Brooklyn’s Beast of Bourbon during the 2015 AFROPUNK Battle of the Bands, it was clear there was something special about ALIGNS. Beneath the wails of feedback and distortion, there’s a rare chemistry between guitarist Jacques Barbot and drummer Mark Bell. On their latest, Duology, ALIGNS don’t reinvent the wheel (why would they? Stripping back is literally the whole point of a punk rock two-piece…) so much as reinforce it. This is their tightest set yet.

Duology kicks off with one of ALIGNS’ best tracks to date, the crushing “Systems.” While the record benefits from a certain sharpness in production, the overall feel is as raw as ever. Like you’re two feet away from the guitar cab in a practice space. Barbot’s vocals come through in wails of delay like a megaphone at a rally, while Bell finds unique ways to keep each song fresh without losing an ounce of percussive power. His work on “Desire” particularly shines.

The record’s other highlights are tributes to rock luminaries: “Joan Jett” and of course “RATM.” Neither attempts to mimic the sound or style of their namesakes (hell, “Joan Jett” borders on doom metal), but there’s something about paying homage to legendary rebels that brings out the best in ALIGNS. Bell treats “RATM” as one long drum solo, while Barbot pushes into Flipper-level noise. It actually doesn’t matter what volume you play it at, this record is just loud. So turn it up.