January 18, 2016 | by Bryne Yancey

Tongue Party don’t fuck around with superfluous histrionics and their songs, which are generally about two minutes long, are that much stronger for it.

Such a no-frills approach allows the Minneapolis band’s core elements to charge even harder and dirtier. Their self-titled debut—which at seven songs and 14 minutes I suppose is an EP, but it’s 2016 and are we really still that concerned with the semantics of format?—is more or less a perfect distillation of that difficult-to-name subgenre that triple-parks its giant van over the punk, hardcore and sludge metal spaces, touching each white line in the process.

It’s difficult to argue with the results here. With distorted, nearly-unintelligible vocals, a muscular rhythm section and guitars alternating between straightforwardly heavy riffing and eerie, tension-building soloing, “Like A Chump” really sets the tone; it has the uncomfortable aesthetic of some of METZ’s better songs and the headbang-inducing construction of Fuzz’s less proggy material. The way “Lava Lamp” breaks out into slightly breathier, but no less heavy tones during its chorus, if it can even be called a chorus, is really satisfying. The central riff of “Richard Flair”—I really hope this is a pro wrestling reference—is the filthiest thing I’ve encountered so far in 2016, and I live in Philadelphia.

Those aforementioned nearly-unintelligible lyrics are for the most part, pure unadulterated id. “Lava Lamp” is about cannabis; “Spinners” appears to explore the side effects of more psychedelic substances. “Da Fuzz,” unsurprisingly, is about cops and, doubly unsurprisingly, how part of their job is confiscating drugs from citizens. Some might pass off explorations such as these as juvenile, and certainly they are to a degree, but when it comes right down to it, isn’t stuff like this what we want out of rock music, at least sometimes? The brash escapism on display is admirable and, in such a dark, confusing hateful world, altogether completely appealing.

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