Label: Roadrunner Records
Released: 15th March 2019
When two of hardcore punk’s current visionaries divvy up their members for a genre-bending supergroup, you’d assume Turnstile and Trapped Under Ice’s lovechild wouldn’t be painfully average. Unfortunately, Angel Du$t’s first major label outing and third album proper is the opposite of its namesake, ‘Pretty Buff’.
Jangly lo-fi guitars fuzz over old-school infused 70s and 90s punk, constantly at war with the off-pace mid-noughties indie jams that infiltrate the sound and structure throughout. Angel Du$t are so sonically off-kilter, you’re presented with the constant feeling you’re listening to Mark Hoppus fronting ‘There Is Nothing Left To Lose’-era Foo Fighters (‘Let Me Know’, ‘Bang My Drum’).
It’s the moments on ‘Pretty Buff’ where Angel Du$t take the biggest risks that actually pay off; the Kings Of Leon-aping ‘Want It All’ pairs groovy acoustic plucked guitars with indie-pop hooks whilst ‘Park’ plays off as a feel-good indie-rock bop handpicked for the summer.
But for every diamond ‘Pretty Buff’ has, there’s a whole lot of rough to go with it. ‘Biggest Girl’ is a big ol’ bag of clichés, from the Anthony Kiedis-mocking screeches to the unnecessary rhyming couplets that make no sense: “Come to find she has a really big mind.” Meanwhile, ‘Push’ is a poor-mans homage to the 90s punk that built the supergroups day job bands that drags on, with vocalist Justice Tripp ironically singing “push it to the limit,” which is exactly what they’re doing in that song.
‘Pretty Buff’ is a record longing to be loved that often loses itself in its rough edges; its lack of sonic innovation a frightening prospect considering Turnstile’s genre-defying 2018 release ‘Time + Space’.