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When People Grow, People Go

10th February 2015 – Deathwish Inc.

01. Insularized
02. Turn in the Pike
03. Riptide
04. Deeper Kind
05. Gossamer
06. Burnt Palms
07. Foreign Observer
08. Calendars
09. Wooder Ice
10. Bottle Rockets
11. When People Grow, People Go

Saying a band plays hardcore can be pretty vague, even for people within the scene. It could mean anything from a screamo band who don‘t want to call themselves screamo to a band in the vein of The Dillinger Escape Plan who don’t want to call themselves mathcore. Of course, it can also mean pretty straight forward hardcore punk and this is where Blacklisted fall on their new album When People Grow, People Go. In this case straight forward is not a flaw, but rather a badge of honour.

The group waste no time shoving their passion in your face through quick and hard hitting songs – so quick, in fact, that they go through eleven in the span of twenty minutes. This briskness is a blessing when utilised with this kind of straight forward hardcore – forty-plus minutes of it can drag, but Blacklisted go for the good ol’ “all killer, no filler” philosophy of putting one’s good foot forward – and putting the other one in the faces of poseurs. The band cuts all the fat, leaving only meat, with a bit of bone to hang on to while you gnaw it dry.

The dripping BBQ sauce of these hardcore ribs comes in the form of vocalist George Hirsch and his honest delivery of even more honest lyrics. His range may not challenge industry heavy weights, but when the vocals – and everything surrounding them – are this emotionally bare, lack of technique doesn’t weigh much against it. From hardcore bellows to almost-clean vocals – and even some reminiscent of Every Time I Die‘s Keith Buckley (see “Riptide“) – there’s more than enough variety to Blacklisted’s style.

But the vocals would probably not amount to much on their own, and so the band backs them up with riffs of varying tempos and styles to suit the mood, delivering on every front. Songs feel dynamic despite most of them lasting only a minute or two; Blacklisted have mastered this aspect of their craft.

These dynamics are coupled with a great feeling of forward momentum, but the one time it falls a little flat is sadly in the title track. Near its conclusion it feels it’s building to a large climax – possibly even a sing-along of the album’s title – but it just kind of…ends. While repeated listens will make this feel right, the first few feel off. Perhaps that’s partly the point given the title; the track grows, and the track goes.

Despite this small flaw, there’s no denying the sheer power of When People Grow, People Go. The honesty and emotional power present on each of these eleven tracks is palpable to anyone even vaguely familiar with the form, so whether you’re looking for a worthy addition to your ever expanding hardcore collection or a crash course in starting one, Blacklisted have got you covered.


Jón writer banner Jan 2015