Angel Du$t : Brand New Soul

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Angel Du$t Brand New Soul review

It would feel mightily rude to call Angel Du$t a conveyor belt of talent with Justice Tripp acting as the supermarket clerk. Such an oversimplification is far too mechanical to sum up the joyous organic fervor of the chameleonic group now in its next reincarnation: an experimental joyfest featuring Tripp’s regular live and studio collaborators seemingly re-fixing punk tracks after picking up tambourines, flutes, Moogs, bongos and vibraslaps. 

So much of modern hardcore has come to be sprouted from the singer’s own days in Trapped Under Ice and his fellow Marylanders’ knack for groove, dance and genuine self-expression. The sound’s been sped up, slowed down, served a few brews, had some joints and hosted disco sets, and we’ve now found ourselves in a place where the genre has never been better embraced outside of sweaty pits. Turnstile even commanded Glastonbury, the most legendary of venues where heavy music still isn’t granted its own limelight. How things will likely change from the likes of Brendan Yates, Pat McCrory and Daniel Fang, all past collaborators in Angel Du$t’s short and eclectic history which really gained ground after A.D.’s “Stepping Stone”, a 50-second rampage as zippy and catchy as a fanny pack. Live staple “Set Me Up” is the hardcore fan’s catnip equivalent to the raver’s “Amen Break,” with Tripp handing over all vocal duties to whoever the hell wants them.

Those are mere tasters showcasing the emotive power that Tripp looks to share with all new audiences. In 2016, Rock the Fuck on Forever was a sax-fuelled funky punk hybrid masterpiece. Pretty Buff and YAK: A Collection of Truck Songs saw the artist immediately pivot into jangle pop. No one, including me, was quite ready for charming love letters from the same man scorning untrustworthy handshakes on TUI’s legendary “Pleased to Meet You” but, alas, it thankfully sparked a whole movement for hardcore heroes to dip their toes into alt-rock. With this fifth full-length produced for the first time by Tripp himself, Brand New Soul pleasantly surprises the scene for the billionth time in about 13 years; an emphatically raised fist clutching a generous bouquet of roses.

Without stalling, their underlying stick-it-to-’em energy bursts out. The album’s title track gets underway namechecking rock ‘n’ roll (as on “Fuel for the Fire”) and rhythm and blues through spacey synths, manipulated vocals and beachside soloing. “We love this very aggressive music!” clambers to precede the crunchy “Love Slam,” which alongside “Space Jam” and “Sippin Lysol” are battering rams they’ve rarely employed since “Headstone,” even when performed on acoustic guitars. Speaking of which, “Don’t Stop” is a makeshift-drum campfire song that’s like an Outbreak Festival encore during a power cut. “Racecar” and “I’m Not Ready” are more in line with the driving warm hugs that made up the past two AD records (only elevated) while “Waste of Space” looks to punk’s snarling past to bring it crashing headfirst into the future.

The band even pokes fun at hardcore while performing a rendition of it on “Pretty Aggressive”; some welcome sarcasm aimed at genre gatekeepers and naysayers alike with added guitar shredding. No matter what unique end-level boss generates throughout the tracklist, each indicates the band maintaining ten paces ahead since their explorative beginnings. By sticking strongly to both newfound creative urges and their roots, Brand New Soul feels like a direct connection to the musicians who made it. You can feel the blood, sweat and tears pouring into your earlobes all the way to the tired travelers of “In the Tape Deck.” They’re presumably on their way to untouched hardcore frontiers already.

Label: Pop Wig

Year: 2023

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