Photograph by Will McAndrew
The first of two full streams that will be going up tonight focuses squarely on Dark Thoughts’ blistering self-titled, their first official release following one of the best demos of 2014, Four Songs. Before examining the overwhelming strength of Dark Thoughts, a few more titles have earned a spot on this page: Solids‘ Else (a strong early candidate for EP of the Year), Suuns’ hypnotizing Hold/Still, Qlowski’s insistent EP, and Tuff Slang‘s peppy self-titled. All four are comfortably positioned as full releases that a lot of people will either come to love or love already.
Dark Thoughts finds some separation from the pack that’s linked above by virtue of being effectively straightforward in a genre that tends to grow stagnant whenever anyone’s foolish enough to attempt the feat. So many bands have tried and failed miserably at songs that are frequently (and unfairly) categorized as Ramones-core and while Dark Thoughts certainly embraces an archetype, it does so with an infallible mixture of venom and pure feeling.
From the opening four songs alone — which clock in at a combined total that doesn’t exceed three and a half minutes — Dark Thoughts comes across as a record with all-or-nothing stakes. The trio clearly wants to make a name for themselves and, appropriately, Dark Thoughts will likely be the record to make that happen. When the band absolutely lays into opener “Identity Crisis”, one wonders if they can sustain such a ferocious pace, then they spend the rest of the record making sure that pace is exceeded.
By the time “Anything” closes Dark Thoughts out, the record’s turned into the musical equivalent of someone riding a junker, forcing the accelerator to hug the floor, with neither hand anywhere close to the wheel. Not once does Dark Thoughts lag anywhere throughout the course of its sub-20 minute run time. Yes, a third of the songs present were already released on the demo but they also manage to be more effective than they were when packaged together without a greater context.
Every song on Dark Thoughts would be a worthy single but the record functions its own standalone entity as well; Dark Thoughts is a sublime piece of insanely well-informed genre work that skews as close to Fix My Brain as it does Rocket to Russia. Appropriately, it’s being released by Jeff Bolt‘s commendably consistent Stupid Bag Records, a label that’s built around celebrating DIY-leaning, punk-laced basement pop. It’s a perfect home for a record that careens recklessly and drives straight into an area reserved for modern classics.
Listen to Dark Thoughts below and pick it up from Stupid Bag here.