Sometimes I love the predictable unpredictability of punk. You hear the name Career Suicide and think a certain sound and, well, they’re right in line with that. Here on Machine Response the band mixes ‘80s hardcore, snot-punk and more in a blitz of a record. It’s aggressive and relentless, but mired in a traditional sound that merges melody and anger, singing more than shouting. While it fits within a certain type, this record is still fresh and energizing.
The band was founded by Martin Farkas (vocals) and Jonah Falco (guitar here, drums in Fucked Up. There are a few shades of Falco’s well known other band but, really, this record is more about bursts of speed than lumbering riffs. It’s 11 songs long and 25-minutes, but it almost feels like more songs in less time. The never-let-up pounding accelerates the world around you, increasing your heart rate to match its pummeling tempo.
“Blank Expression” is one of the standouts, and the biggest Fucked Up moment on the LP, clocking in at almost 5 minutes. However, other songs that jump out are more in tune with the overall breakneck drumming with frequent switcheroos that harkens ‘80s-era hardcore. Take the opener “Cut and Run” as an example, with a frantic call and response beginning, some blazing guitars about a third of the way in, and pure anxiety and anger instead of suspenseful tension. After starting in a sludgy feedback hole, closing track “Point of No Return” bursts out of the muck (and into the pit, hey-o!) with some seriously fast guitars that let everyone catch their breath during its quick refrains. The bursts of second guitar highlight the frustration buried in their overall sound but, instead of wallowing, it’s always pushing forward, speeding up, swinging fists, and spitting anger directly in the face of the album’s hopeless final line: “staring down the barrel of a loaded fucking gun.”
At times the vocals can feel a little too similar from one song to the next, but it’s really not much of a slight so much as an observation. The real driving force to Machine Response is the high octane energy and about-to-burst fury.
In addition to Farkas and Falco, the record is filled out by players with some pretty impressive resumes: Dallas Good is on second guitar (John Doe, Half Japanese, more), Forward/G.I.S.M.’s Souichi Hisatake contributes a scream, and the artwork was done in collaboration with Ryan Tong (S.H.I.T., Faith/Void).
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