INJURY RESERVE’S ‘BY THE TIME I GET TO PHOENIX’ IS A SEARCH FOR MEANING IN THE NOISE
By Nathan Leigh
September 17, 2021
“what’s the elephant in the room?
let’s talk to him”
After the release of 2019’s self-titled debut, Injury Reserve seemed to be poised as the heir apparent to Clipping.’s legacy. Their bold, boundary-pushing sound coupled with the jagged verses of twin vocalists Stepa J. Groggs and Ritchie With a T forced open new holes in the fabric of spacetime. Then their planned followup was almost consumed by disaster. Amid the chaos of 2020, Groggs tragically passed away while still working on the record. When Ritchie With a T and producer Parker Corey revisited the recorded material, they found a meditation on loss, a rage against the dying of the light.
The record mines the sonic landscape of punk, hip-hop, and industrial for an atmosphere that’s a punch to the chest. Anchored by lead singles “Superman That” and the indie rock inflected “Knees,” Injury Reserve contort their dueling vocals into hypnotic shards of broken glass. Post-punk highlight “SS San Fransisco” and the hauntingly profound “Top Picks For You” evoke the chaos of grief and the fragmented experience of digital reality. It’s a sound and vocal delivery that share one underlying truth: there are no easy answers to any of this, the best we can do is find moments of meaning within the noise.
Follow Injury Reserve for more at @injuryreserve.
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