Militarie Gun, My Life Is Over (Convulse Records, 2020)

The musical war of attrition that is 2020 calls for but one weapon: Militarie Gun.

When No Echo last caught up with the band in April, it was on the heels of their S/T demo.

Though certainly not fortuitous, it was a cancelled run of dates for Regional Justice Center that allowed for this quarantine-born germination to yield a fully fledged project.

Out today via Convulse Records, My Life Is Over is a divergent but essential record that’s likely to surprise those only versed in the hyper-literate and feral blast furnace that is RJC. 

The collection’s opening gambit is “A New Low for Progressive Society.” Absolutely draped in fuzz, it’s an off-kilter and noisy song that sidesteps neo-grunge with a far more interesting tone and a deceptively melodic turn from Shelton.

Though not nearly as bright as last summer’s note perfect and breezy collaboration with Pretty Matty, Shelton manages to command from the jump. He vacillates from breathless and raw shouting to something a bit more sneery, here allowing the end of vocal lines to be swallowed by the swirling distortion of the guitars.

Elsewhere, “Dislocate Me” has a choppy vibe, the rhythmic push and pull is highlighted with a unique and singular vocal trick. The primitive yelp of “push, push” and “sick, sick” tacked on to the front of lyrical lines proves incredibly dynamic.

Also on display here is Shelton’s way around a chorus, which pays dividends in an instantly hummable and huge moment on the EP. It’s bookended by the lumbering and rubbery groove of RJC bandmate Steph Jerkova. Again, the guitars bely a love for earworms, however barbed and loud.

Knowing when to shut up and listen is a lost art and the associated fatigue results in “Kept Talkin," a bent and discordant takedown that is, in my opinion, a highwater mark. Planting its freak flag immediately is a riff worthy of Amphetamine Reptile’s accessible aggro noise.

Just shy of dope, guns, and fucking in the streets; the sharpened stomp reaches its zenith with an absolutely killer guest vocal from the aformentioned Jerkova.  

“Life in Decline” starts with a fleeting moment of gorgeous and shimmering guitar that belies artists as well versed in the Beatles as they are the scuzziest of hardcore. Calling to mind the miniature pop masterpieces of Tony Molina and the shimmering guitars of Built to Spill, it quickly seques into something that’d move units for Dischord.

Appropriately, inventive Fugazi pacing and riff runs point throughout the verses. Again, the guitars shine on this one, managing a melange of '90s college rock, noisy post punk, and controlled menace. 

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