In an attempt to describe The Armed for someone I was trying to sell on the band’s 2018 album Only Love, the best I could come up with was “total sensory overload.” It’s not wrong; their songs are intense, distorted, heavy as fuck yet loaded with effects and giddy hooks—their shows like hardcore performance art, complete with strobe lights and a (now retired) guy in a ghillie suit. “All Futures” is no less overwhelming to the senses; its three minutes comprise a Pandora’s Box of hypercaffeinated sound that can’t be crammed back in once it’s let loose. There are eight people in the video, one of them is a beefy shirtless guy and three of them are playing guitars, and it’s all constantly on the verge of being way too much.
Yet “All Futures” never crosses that line. The gang vocals, sonic treatments, the sheer momentum and force of the song is the best kind of endorphin rush, one that as much indulgent as it is transcendent. For a band that’s often kept actual information about themselves pretty close to the vest—to the extent that consensus on the full lineup of the band hadn’t until now been reached—they’re more than generous when it comes to what goes into their songs. And in landing upon ULTRAPOP as the name of their third album, the Detroit hardcore troupe have finally provided an appropriate word to describe their dizzying sound.
From ULTRAPOP, out April 16 via Sargent House
Jeff Terich is the founder and editor of Treble. He's been writing about music for 20 years and has been published at American Songwriter, Bandcamp Daily, Reverb, Spin, Stereogum, uDiscoverMusic, VinylMePlease and some others that he's forgetting right now. He's still not tired of it.