This Atlanta trio caught my attention with Larceny & Old Lace a couple of years ago, and Suck My Shirt is a continuation of that sound. It shifts into hypnotic, rhythmic patterns and eschews melodies at times, instead just shouting their fury over the beat while discordant guitars clash away. It’s not noise rock—there’s still a firm focus on structure and tonal pleasantries—instead, it’s chaotic and brash: a perfect pairing for the themes within. For every time they spit an angry line, the rhythm is countering with something catchier and upbeat. It’s a blend of fiery rebellion and positive energy. The inner artist is content, strong, and fun while the voice reflected at the outside world is challenging and calling for action.
What sets The Coathangers apart is the pep and energy they manage through their distinct guitars, based more on a choppy staccato style. It’s beat heavy and every song is quite different. Opener “Follow Me” is among the standouts, while “Merry Go Round” (while far from the best track on the record) showcases the band’s lighter side, making music that’s suited for both a party and a political rally. “Dead Battery” could probably be held up as indicative of their overall sound: it has that aggression, but it’s tempered within the punctuated rhythm section. I haven’t figured it out yet, lyrically, but I like to believe in my own head that “Springfield Cannonball” is about the “Homerpalooza” Simpsonsepisode. (Note: I’m quite sure it’s not.) Regardless, it brings in some almost metallic (as in ting! ting!) sounds while the upbeat vocals repeat excessively and energetically. I’m a sucker for the bassline in “Zombie” and the placement of the slower song is nice change-up while displaying their versatility.
While Larceny & Old Lace may have stretched Coathanger’s boundaries further, they reel in the tempo experimentation on Suck My Shirt and it’s largely a high energy, positive-tone record, despite carrying a lot of anger inside. But that feels like a silly sentence. Who said it can’t be both?