Paternity Test, Incubation Period demo (2022)

St. Louis hardcore is, fittingly, a “Gateway” drug. From Red Bait and the sorely missed Time and Pressure to Squint and Soul Craft, STLHC has long held down the Midwest.

Placeholder’s two-year tenure managed to produce a grip of stellar releases that drew heavily from earnest melodic hardcore a la admitted influences As Friends Rust, Dag Nasty, and Kid Dynamite.

Having caught the attention and subsequent co-sign of UK label stalwarts Crew Cuts Records, their 2021 swan song, Nobody Asked For This, was a flawlessly breezy collection of emotive punk rippers that, frankly, we did ask for. 

Ostensibly stitched together from the aforementioned crüe comes Paternity Test.

Equipped with a fresh four-string handler (Finney), the band’s razor chops have only sharpened, resulting in a noticeable level up. Still replete with a melodically minded ear, they’ve upped their ire and stoked the fire on this iteration of the band.

Paternity Test still pull from the earworm laden hooks of bands like Suicide File and their ilk, but with a newfound sense of reckless and pissed energy. 

The collection dubbed “Incubation Period” wastes nary a second. Opener “Coughing Into A Napkin” finds us in medias res, as if walking uninvited into a practice space. Starting with a throat shredding scream and absolute top shelf riff, it’s a formidable and instantly memorable table setter. 

Elsewhere, it gets better on “It Gets Worse.” Off the back of a classic Ron Swanson sample, it’s a sub minute rager. Playing like a taut, sharp shock to the system, it’s centered around the lyrical lament of “we’ve gone too far.” To be honest, I’m thankful they did. 

Photo: Stephen Inman

“Art School on Radar” and “Nudi Mag” are both wildly snotty takedowns that highlight a spectacular vocal performance. Spitting highly decipherable vocals, it’s a joy not to need the lyric sheet to understand, well, the lyrics themselves.

Spitting hyper-literate references and agitated poetics, it calls to mind the manic energy of Western Addiction or the Single Mothers debut LP.

I’ve promised myself I wouldn’t make a Maury Povich joke. I won’t. I promise. For Paternity Test, the results are in. STLHC is the only parent they need. Get this now

Tagged: paternity test