Home > News & Reviews > Gouge Away

Gouge Away - Burnt Sugar (Album Review)

Thursday, 04 October 2018 Written by Huw Baines

Photo: David Burns

In sports, a healthy amount of time is given over to understanding how athletes will perform under severe pressure and fatigue. Basically, will they break when it matters?

Florida hardcore band Gouge Away appeared to empty the tank on their 2016 debut LP, ‘, Dies’. It was a brutal, gut-wrenching experience that didn’t let up for 22 minutes, with vocalist Christina Michelle hauling us headfirst into a bug-eyed maelstrom of noise. It wasn’t sustainable, surely?

The band’s follow up, the 7” Swallow b/w Sweat, suggested that any plans to simply do the whole thing over again were quickly tossed out.

It introduced a grinding, unruly mid-tempo version of Gouge Away that dialled down the outright ferocity in favour of the creeping feeling that someone might snap your neck at a moment's notice.

‘Burnt Sugar’ goes further again. Released by hardcore heavyweights Deathwish, this is an album defined by its steely-eyed focus. The band’s rhythm section, bassist Tyler Forsythe and drummer Tommy Cantwell, anchor songs that lurch and howl. Michelle alternates between a feral screech and patient catch and release, turning in a performance that rivals ex-Punch vocalist Meghan O’Neil’s on the band’s sign off ‘They Don't Have to Believe’ for the variety in its angles of attack.

She returns more than once to the ocean as an emblem - of the boundless scope for failure we sometimes imagine for ourselves, plus as a visceral threat to our safety - and describes vividly the sense of inertia that anxiety can create. “One certain hand pushing my back forward,” she yells as Dis s o c i  a  t   i    o     n crashes to its conclusion. “One confident hand pushing my chest back.”

Each lyric cuts through aided by the raw, live sound facilitated by producer Jeremy Bolm and mixer Jack Shirley. Bolm, who fronts Touché Amoré, is something of a hardcore dictionary and has helped bring out Gouge Away’s noise-rock influences (particularly a filthy bass sound) alongside some new flourishes. 

A song like Slow Down, which moves from a halting, melodic riff through bracing D-beat, is a neat encapsulation of what they’ve built together. Shirley, whose work with Deafheaven is often up in lights, helps conjure memories of his old bands Comadre and and Everybody Row with a layer of grit that only serves to highlight the precision of the performances. ‘Burnt Sugar’ feels chaotic and unsanitised, but never like it’s going to fall apart. When it matters, it delivers.





Let Us Know What You Think - Leave A Comment!




Related News

Gouge Away Offer Grinding, Thunderously Heavy Taste Of 'Burnt Sugar' With New Track Ghost
Wed 29 Aug 2018
Photo: David Burns Gouge Away have released the second taste of their new LP.
Gouge Away Offer Exciting Glimpse Of New Album 'Burnt Sugar' With Video For Only Friend
Wed 01 Aug 2018
Photo: David Burns This is what you call a murderers’ row: a young, exciting hardcore band with a couple of feral early releases in the bank, a production team with previous for twisting the genre into cool new shapes, and a label that has become a byword for quality.
Still Pioneers After All These Years: Millencolin Return With 'SOS'
Wed 13 Feb 2019
Sometimes things just click. A band will figure out how they work at the right moment, release the right record on the right label at the right time, and find the right audience waiting. A little under two decades ago that happened to Millencolin when they sent ‘Pennybridge Pioneers’ into the world.
Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard Among New Acts Announced For Cardiff Psych and Noise Fest
Thu 14 Feb 2019
Nine new acts have been announced for Cardiff Psych and Noise Fest.
Cass McCombs - Tip of the Sphere (Album Review)
Tue 12 Feb 2019
Nine albums deep, songwriter Cass McCombs has settled into the expansive world of ‘Tip of the Sphere’, a long-form blend of spoken word, minimalist psych-rock and ambient guitar moods.
'Being In A Band is a Dumb Idea': Pkew Pkew Pkew Keep Things Honest on 'Optimal Lifestyles'
Mon 25 Feb 2019
There is no other strain of self-analysis quite like the one that begins with a hangover placing its foot on your throat—that sweaty, heaving mass of bad decisions, good decisions that now feel like bad decisions, and inconvenient black spots.
There Can Never Be Too Many Guitar Solos: Du Blonde On Creative Control and 'Lung Bread For Daddy'
Thu 21 Feb 2019
“The ‘60s and ‘70s are where the majority of my music taste lies,” Du Blonde, aka Beth Jeans Houghton, says when asked about the vintage tones written all over her new record, ‘Lung Bread For Daddy’. “There can never be too many guitar solos. I’m surprised by how many people don’t love a good rock opera.”
 
< Prev   Next >