The title of Twin Cities trio Condominium’s latest is quite misleading. Warm Home is not the record you put on for an evening in front of the fire place with hot chocolate and a novella. This is anything but comforting. Instead, imagine the following scenario: The clock strikes 2AM just as the pot cookie you ate between your first and second 40oz.—that latter of which is now entering the dreaded swill stage—is rapidly taking control of your mind, body, and for all intensive purposes, soul. (Those of you who like to keep your edges straight, can play along too: Take a minute to eat a carrot, slap yourself in the face a few times, do ten pushups; and join the rest of us when you’re good and ready.) You’ve grown tired of worrying about the music being too loud for the neighbors, and quite frankly, in your current state of fucked-upness, you could care less. Plus you’ve been listening to old-school rap for the duration of eighty ounces of malt liquor, and now you’re in the mood for something abrasive. It’s time to rage up in this bitch! Drop the needle on Warm Home.
The first track, “Life is Amazing” finds Condominium bashing out clangy balls-to-the-walls hardcore punk, similar to early records like Hello Tomorrow and Pupils—thrash-tinged but not enough to label it solely as such. Continuing on into “Teeth,” the race to the finish line ensues—the distorted riffage paused just long enough for a Black Flag-ish bass and drum crescendo-to-breakdown racket. This leads way to the first inclination of the weirdness to come. “Why Be Something You’re Not?” is a noisy instrument-only affair, sounding oddly enough like an organic mash-up of Merzbow, DNA, and futurist classical compositions. The fairly straightforward Greg Ginn-like styling of “I Don’t Hate Any Of You” rounds out side A nicely.
Side B starts with “Under Glass”—a continuance of the lengthier songs the band started exploring on their last two records, Barricade and Gag. Clocking in at just over five minutes, it’s the longest one on here. The title track, “Warm Home” is a charged and pointed blast of punk that serves as an adequate interlude between experimental tones of “Under Glass” and the final song. “An Arbitrary Choice Between Infinite Coexisting Realities” is the perfect closer, as they effortlessly incorporate all of the sub-genres tapped in the previous six songs. It’s an up-and-down ride of clamor and crunch.
Over the course of four impressive 7”s, Condominium has cross-checked a variety of influences—veering into garage, no wave, psych, and AmRep-esque noise—resulting in a sound that is not easily pigeonholed. I don’t necessarily like to talk about versatile bands in terms of progression, as more often than not it suggests an original aspect of their sound has been abandoned as they acquire a new one. That could not be farther from the truth with these guys. I am more inclined to look at Warm Home, (their first 12”,) as inclusive rather than progressive. That is to say, this record is the perfect culmination of the band’s recorded output thus far—exemplifying their flexibility within the trad-core realm. I absolutely love the production (or perhaps lack of) on this record. It captures the essence of the Condominium live experience—dirt, distortion and jaw-grinding loudness.
You’ll find little to complain about here other than the whole thing is over too quickly—seven songs in roughly twenty minutes. But on the upside, you can always play it again and finish up the second half of that third 40oz. (Or do more pushups, if that’s your thing.)
8.9 / 10
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