There are few things more insatiably punk within the hardcore/punk scene than “manifesto songs.” These selections—often brief and eponymous—walk listeners through the bands’ purpose, moral compass and intent. Frank "Skip" Candelori of Turning Point voiced a need for a personal paradigm shift in “Turning Point;” “Public Image” by Public Image Ltd was John Lydon’s snarling open letter to his former bandmates in the Sex Pistols about being exploited.
In its demo, Massachusetts quartet No Exceptions gives us their manifesto song in “Not Just Drugs.” And though it’s not eponymous, it’s a punchy, succinct number that serves as a great introduction to the band.
Even before they strike the first chord, the message is clear: This is an unapologetic straight edge band whose ideals bleed into other aspects of their lifestyles, such as their consumption. “Our minds filled with ignorant thoughts and material attachments we have bought,” PXI yells. It’s a fitting departure from other songs on the release.
Musically, the quartet channels the brisk, melodic tendencies of youth crew greats from yesteryear. The song begins with ring-outs that quickly transition into a syncopated build-up with gang vocals. “Not just drugs! Dull the edge!” PXI yells. It’s as if the band fused the brisk urgency of Carry On with Chain of Strength’s melodic edge, which serves as a great reason to look forward to what’s to come from this band.
The No Exceptions demo is available on cassette via Higher Dimension Records.
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