3 Track EP recorded in Australia on Cement Shoes recent tour.
There’s a parallel universe out there somewhere, one where Poison Idea’s ‘Pick Your King’, Gang Green’s ‘Sold Out’ and Negative Approach’s ‘Tied Down’ are sacred texts and all art is merely an attempt to bow down and pay tribute to their holy genius. In this universe, Richmond, VA’s Cement Shoes will be truly worshipped as the heroes they deserve to be - this triple shot of hits is a perfect piece of punk in that lineage.
‘Smashed on Glass’ opens with a gloriously farty synth replicating the Universal Pictures movie fanfare, setting us up perfectly for the scraped-knuckle joy to follow. It’s a two-minute thrill ride of high-speed aggression, bludgeoning guitars and vocals that sound like singer Trevor’s larynx has been wrapped up in barbed wire, crushed with a steam roller and then coaxed back to life by vigorous brushing with wire wool. You know, all that fun stuff.
It’s followed by the brilliantly titled ‘Knocked Into The Reptile Enclosure’, which continues their sonic assault with gusto as Trev roars into life with a ‘bababababa’ that sounds like The Trashmen falling into a vat of toxic waste - perfect for hollering back from beerdrunk moshpits, or simply for turning up to maximum volume, annihilating all goodwill with your neighbours and earning yourself a tidy warning from The Man. But fuck that guy. By comparison, ‘Going off the Grid’ is more restrained, but it’s still wild as all hell, pulsating with menace and invention as guitarist Brandon leads the band down a series of dark roads, seemingly blind alleys and secret escape routes. It might just be the best song of the set, but shhh! Don’t tell the others.
The record is subtitled ‘A love story of drugs & rock & roll & drugs’, which sounds straightforward enough. If you can pierce through the rollicking scree to find that story, you’ll be screaming along at the walls for the rest of time. Either way, this is a great piece of old skool hardcore - perfect for honing that tinnitus you’ve been working on all these years.
Our take: After recording their recent LP, Too, Cement Shoes shifted their lineup and their drummer Trevor took over the mic. While Cement Shoes’ recordings until that point felt like they were mocking the punk scene, Trevor led the band into full-on antagonism, an attitude that reaches full flower on this EP, recorded during the band’s recent Australian tour. Trevor’s vocals sound manic, swinging unexpectedly from gruff hardcore shouting to Jello-esque mocking to drugged-out babbling, often shifting drastically in tone over the course of a song (or even a single part). The music does the same, moving from crunchy punk to ripping hardcore to goofy mockery in a way that feels intuitive and stream of consciousness rather than schizophrenic. More than any other recent record that I can think of, A Love Story of Drugs & Rock & Roll & Drugs captures the feeling of being drunk and speeding and getting knocked around the mosh pit in a sweaty basement, not sure whether you’re immersed in the moment or on another planet. If you’re even slightly uptight you should steer clear, but for everyone else, this is an extraordinary record.