Reviews Stop Breathing Santa Cruz EP

Stop Breathing

Santa Cruz EP

Raging, fast, poignant, and so on; any number of commonly used hardcore band descriptors would be apropos when talking about the sonic onslaught of Oxnard, CA's Stop Breathing. Lead vocalist John Crerar says, “I like to think of us as a cross between RKL and Gorilla Biscuits with a dash of D.R.I.” So there’s that for a frame of reference. They put out a full-length LP back in 2012 that I never heard, but their new EP Santa Cruz is pretty rad by my standards. Instrumentation and production-wise it’s definitely on the cleaner side, but not some completely sterile cargo-shorts-custom-New-Era-fitted-cap shit. Reminds me a lot of the Straight Faced – Self Will Run Riot 7” from 1992. That is to say pop-punk kids who occasionally dabble in hardcore would dig it. And that’s not in any way intended as a rip; rather just contextual perspective. The whole thing was recorded and mixed in six hours, with the end result clocking in under seven minutes, so you know there’s no screwing around here. Aside from a few moments of wankery—like the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it solo on “Until We Die”—the guitars are fairly standard fare. What really stands out is the rhythm section. The drums drive the whole thing forward at a frantic pace, while the gravity of the bass tugs your cranium into ugly-mugged head-bobbing motion. Good stuff. Turn it up, curl your lip, and get into it.

8.0 / 10Nathan G. O'Brien
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8.0 / 10

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