Florida’s Gouge Away meld punk fury with alternative anthems on their sophomore full-length record, Burnt Sugar.
With the release of their well-received 2016 full-length , Dies, and subsequent tours with the likes of Touché Amoré and other underground mainstays, Gouge Away have slowly been gaining momentum in the modern punk scenes. Blending fierce hardcore with relevant political ideologies and an affinity for catchiness that many of their peers seem to lack, Gouge Away have been thriving in a middle ground between two extremes that can attract the hardcore elites and those who are just dipping their toes into the genre. On Burnt Sugar, the band dig deeper into that aforementioned middle ground and strike a sweet spot between punk lineage and pop sensibility.
Songs such as “Fed Up”, “Hey Mercy”, “Can’t Relate” and “Wilt (I Won’t)” feature short bursts of instrumentation rife with steady but punchy punk chord progressions and an almost grunge-esque groove. The power chords gallop hand-in-hand with gritty bass lines over tight, pummeling drumming across these brief cuts. Wails of feedback keep the songs one foot in aggression, the application of melody keeps the other foot in alternative territory. Everything is then topped off by vocalist Christina Michelle, who leads these catchy assaults with her fierce, searing scream.
The band try their hand at a brooding, 90s alternative anthem on the song “Ghost”. The three-minute slow-burner revolves around a back-and-forth interplay between big, in-your-face chords and mellow, wavering verses throughout. Muscular and thunderous bass lines add an extra dimension of heaviness to the track, as well as Michelle’s transitions from quiet crooning to commanding yells. The song “Stray/Burnt Sugar” is another song that plays upon the band’s alternative rock influences. The track in question is an absolutely infectious noise pop number full of slightly dissonant melodies and bright, swagger-filled riffs that bring to mind the very band whose song Gouge Away chose for their name; the Pixies.
From the indie punk ragers that kick off the album, to 90s-inspired epics such as “Ghost”, to tracks like “Subtle Thrill” that blend the two extremes, Gouge Away‘s Burnt Sugar is a fun and extremely memorable record. While , Dies was definitely more aggressive, Burnt Sugar showcases a more dynamic side to this every promising band.
Release Date: September 28, 2018
Label: Deathwish, Inc
Favorite Tracks: “Only Friend”, “Slow Drown”, “Subtle Thrill”, “Ghost”, “Dis s o c i a t i o n” and “Stray/Burnt Sugar”
For Fans Of: Touché Amoré, Super Unison and Ceremony