Lithuania’s debut full-length album Hardcore Friends via Lame-O Records begins with the mad-dashing punk jolt of “God In Two Persons.” The song quickly gathers momentum as a rush of power chords and percussion develop an instantaneous flow of energy, and Eric Slick’s controlled agitation questions and states, “What is on your mind?/You do it all the time.” “Pieces” pushes a crusty grunge aesthetic, as the spoken lyrics linger, embedding them in one’s mind. “I need something that I can’t hold on to./Please believe I would never do you wrong.” What initially speaks to a fundamental instrumental rawness is balanced by a melodic refinement.
Dominic Angelella unlocks the window of vulnerability in “I Wanna Drink Poison.” A simple percussion and guitar allow his delicate vocals to etch a confession that aches with authenticity. Eventually, the light breeze of instrumentation transforms into a powerful gust, and Angelella laments, “I Don’t See Anybody.” With it’s bare acoustic guitar lead, “Coronation Day” provides an uplifting tonal change - a brief yet well-placed breath of fresh air. “Deaf Gene” begins with a gentle drifting before reaching a high-pressure, uncorked rage - “…My hands are tired it’s the first time since time…” releasing the frustration until Angelella’s vocals soothe Slick’s aggression giving it a moment to simmer before relinquishing the reins and roaring to its conclusion.
Densely packed drums and guitar quickly rouse one’s senses in “Place Of No Tomorrow,” revving the engine between short yet effective exhibitions of force. Its vocals are exuberant, while still having a disgruntled bite as that universally need for a new scene appears in the chorus reverberates, “God, this part of town is killing me./I need to breathe and see the place of no tomorrow.” Closing with its title track, Hardcore Friends leaves a lasting impression. As Angelella poignantly questions, “If I fall in love with an idea again, if I fall in love, would you make sure that I’m careful with it?” The guest vocals of Frances Quinlan (Hop Along) and Rachel Browne (Field Mouse/Anomie) offer a dynamic sense of earnest support as the album rumbles to a close.
A pair of hardcore friends in Eric Slick and Dominic Angelella has sealed its brotherly bond with an album that fuses punk-rock attitude and assertiveness with a resounding melodic pop sensibility. The energy and emotion are palpable. - Michael Colavita