Let’s play the name game for a moment. The Philly act heretofore known as Shinobi have returned under the fresh-cut moniker Peroxide Blonde. Off the back of their 2017 debut cassette and the mid-2018 The World Is Mine EP, the name change sidesteps marketplace confusion.
No longer to be confused with the long-running Asian Man Records act Shinobu, the unwinnable 1987 Sega side-scroller, or the nonsensical utterances Mick Jagger spits on “Shattered” (shadoobie?). Jokes aside, the band’s forthcoming EP is a world weary and singular beast with the Aversionline seal of approval. Newly monikered, invigorated, but scarred; Peroxide Blonde is breaking ground on a new foundation.
Having weathered personal tragedy and the much-needed subsequent break, their 3-song EP, Never Made My Cry, is a decidedly more somber affair. Though it deals in bleak truths, there are rowdy moments of triumph and exultant power. Citing inspiration, if not influence, from bands as wildly diverse as EYEHATEGOD, Elliott Smith,The Stone Roses, Pixies, Johnny Thunders, and Agnostic Front; I was still admittedly unprepared for just how diverse the 10 plus minutes managed to be:
No Echo readers will certainly find plenty to love on second track “Ripoff," an immediate and catchy blast of alt-leaning punk whose opening moment of feedback plays like the kings of Bleach in Nirvana. “Thief in the Night” is a sprawling and disassembled number that crams decades of alternative music into a runtime just shy of 5 minutes. Clearly adept at both rambling epics and concise blasts of neo-grunge, the band’s highest watermark is elsewhere. Despite the weight and emotional heft of such essential bookends to their opening gambit as Peroxide Blonde, it’s on the opener “Never Made Me Cry” the band truly elevates the proceedings to a loftier plane.
In what feels like a pointed and specific mood piece, the band flaunts a loose and fluid technicality with washy and rambling soundscapes. Starting with a reverb-laden jangle that calls to mind post-punk, Peroxide Blonde plays with an almost math rock tightness belying a close knit group rich in chemistry. Comprised of two siblings and their respective childhood mates, these songs seem forged in friendship, steeped in both nostalgia and regret.
Musically, there’s an angular and rhythmic sensibility to the verses that absolutely explode into layered vocals. They up the ante with a chorus catchy enough to recall their contemporaries in the superb Pleasure Leftists. Ultimately, it’s surprisingly infectious material considering the lovelorn and mournful barbs that make up the lyrics, which make it abundantly clear that they’re neither in love nor afraid of death.
They’d fit well on the more obtuse end of '90s alternative music, sounding as much like everyone as they do no one. At one moment, they play like the best radio grunge secret of your life and, seconds later, like a lost 4AD or Creation Records band. I hear dashes of everything from ...And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead and Silversun Pickups to Starflyer 59, Seaweed and their modern counterparts in Drug Church. They even manage to work in “gazey” melodious elements that remind me of Lush or Catherine Wheel. With an attack as far afield as their admitted influences, there’s something for all y’all.
Here’s hoping the Philadelphia name-changers have a year free of strife and can cobble together a full length... I’m already drooling at the proposition.
Tagged: peroxide blonde