Bitter Branches – Your Neighbors Are Failures

Experiences, frustrations and disappointments go towards shaping us as people and indeed so often can be the accelerant to any form of creative endeavour any of us may pursue. With some it can lie behind the scenes and for others be an open force or scar. For US post hardcore outfit, Bitter Branches, it is the voracious fuel to their creativity and a debut album which accuses, harasses and tears open the wounds of a self-deceiving world.

Your Neighbors Are Failures is a raging inferno of emotion within a landscape of sound which simply captivated and manipulated. Its songs “revolve around the frustration gained from years of first-hand experience with exactly how the world works, and often how it doesn’t”, its hungry breath a scathing trespass upon thoughts and emotive turbulence a spark for one’s own reaction.

Philadelphia’s Bitter Branches consists of Jeff Tirabassi (ex. Walleye), Brian Kantorek (Go! for the Throat, The Curse), Matt Ryan (Calvary), Kevin Sommerville (Lighten Up!) and Tim Singer (Deadguy, Kiss It Goodbye, No Escape), they veterans from the 90’s punk hardcore scene. That line-up and their histories certainly brought a kind of expectation of what we could find within the band’s new album, but our introduction to the band swiftly defeated any idea of assumption. The band’s post hardcore sound is a fertile web of imagination, craft and flavouring with a dextrous post punk lining creating a potent vein and invention in its hardcore/noise punk breeding.

Your Neighbors Are Failures uncages Along Came A Bastard first, an addiction forging track which had us instantly chained to the release with its rhythmic coaxing. Tirabassi casts a nagging and dextrous animation of touch and manipulation, his beats never deviating from their infectious baiting with the guitars of Ryan and Sommerville laying down their own sonic orchestration. Even the track’s eruptions carry an inherent persistence, the fury spilling breath of vocalist Singer raging across it all with the gnarled breath of Yemin’s bass a grievous magnet alongside.

That rhythmic control of song and reaction is just as addictive and galvanic within Circus, indeed across the whole of the release, with spiralling strands of guitar an eddy of persuasive trespass around the vociferously riled vocals. It is a parade of tempestuousness and emotional disagreement which is embraced into its own abrasive tempest by The Man Who Never Cries. Yet as every track within the album, it is an instinctively virulent incursion on ears and the senses unleashed with calculated but organic craft and in a cyclone of emotive dissidence.

Through the more relatively reserved but no less intense Plastic Tongues and Have You Tried Jogging with its more laid back but increasingly violent incitement, the album just tightened its hold. The first provides a raw and haunting proposal with its successor an untamed dispute with its own esurient escalation of fierce vehemence. Both tracks are superb but instantly outdone by the dynamic drama and enterprise of Chewing On Vitamins, it seizing favourite track whilst badgering the senses with resolute beats, a carnal bassline and Singer’s uncompromising tones and enmity.

Sorry You’re Not A Winner equally gripped the passions, an irritable slab of rock ‘n’ roll with sonic lancing and rhythmic pestering upon eagerly welcoming senses. Again as within all tracks, there is a resourceful and eventful landscape of twists and turns around a core musical and emotional discontent, the band’s concentrated yet varied fusion of sound engaged in fluid unpredictability as epitomised by the following and just as enslaving Solo Trip. Intrigue and threats wraps every note and syllable, the track rhythmically lively and significant within the just as vital sonic mesh and vocal incitement.

The final pair of tracks, Monsters Among Us and Show Me Yours, not only brought the album to a fine close but left their own indelible mark on the imagination. The first is another outstanding moment, a mesmeric and ultimately disturbing seduction with its psych spun melodies and increasingly psychotic demeanour while the latter is an imposingly agile and skilfully unstable encounter, its breath paranoid but assertive, touch pugilistic but menacingly flirtatious. It epitomises every rich aspect and greed inciting ingredient of the album which had us lustfully gripped and why Bitter Branches is providing post hardcore something inspirational, indeed punk rock as a whole.

Your Neighbors Are Failures is out now via Rude Records; available @  

Pete RingMaster 03/03/2022

Copyright RingMaster Review

Categories: Music

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