Thursday, October 15, 2009

Esprit de Corps - 'Under Constant Influence'

Colorado’s Esprit de Corps’ new-ish EP Under Constant Influence combines Brand New’s vitriol, the Blackout Pact’s freewheeling spirit, and Pistolita’s, uh, simultaneous use of keys and screams. It also comes on hand screened cardboard with black ink, which was awfully nice and/or DIY of them. Esprit de Corps (or the fuckin’ EDC as they like to be called) churns out five emotional hardcore songs in 14 minutes, taking on bitter ex-lovers all along the way. It’s very cathartic, and even a wee bit rocking.

“Mild Herb” starts the rant-fest, with frontman Chris Gardner in full-on nihilist mode, promising a girl two things: 1) “I’m not even here / I’m not even anywhere” and 2) “You’ll never find a boy quite like me / I promise you that.” Dude’s got a decent set of screamin’ pipes; he never goes too Botch-y, opting for a more intelligible, occasionally wounded approach. “Black Gold” adds a slight dance-punk element to the band’s repertoire, with Gardner turn his venom on himself. The music is fine, though Gardner throws too many clichés into the mix (“We crushed our bones for making bread,” “I pray my soul to keep,” etc.). It’s a decent tune, though at best it’s still only the second greatest song called “Black Gold” (Soul Asylum, I still loves you).

“On Conquering” and “Way Too Rowdy” follow the same angsty formula with solid results. At 4:24, “Forget the Titanic, We Sink Faster” feels downright epic compared to the other two-minutes-and-some-change tunes on Under Constant Influence. The song is pretty straightforward: “We’re fucked and this ship is going down.” Gardner sells the lines with great tenacity, especially when he gets to the crux of the matter – it’s not that they’re breaking up so much as his lady promised she loved him. Gardner acknowledges their youth, but it’s not enough when he put all his faith in three words (those words of course being “I tolerate you”). It’s a good ending to a good EP, making Under Constant Influence a worthwhile investment for those who enjoy hardcore that is emotional, maybe even occasionally screamingly so.

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