Some bands make you feel like testing out a new pair of slippers in the local library. Other bands, maybe you’ll throw a beer down your throat before skating down a ravine. But the best type of bands make you wanna tear off your own ears and clamp ‘em to the heads of everyone you hold dear, while you scream ‘YOU CAN HEAR WHAT I’M HEARING, RIGHT?’
Denim & Leather are the latter type. They mainly sound like Pissed Jeans flipping over a cement mixer while Kira-era Black Flag stand in a circle around ‘em, throwing firecrackers. Except for when they don’t – then they sound like the wooziest buncha too-cool-for-you guitar-slingers around, with lips curled to implausible angles.
Sacred Autism is their debut album and you owe it to yourself to go deaf to it at the earliest opportunity. Wanna hear what pure euphoria feels like? Cathedral Gardens is all punk energy and corrosive fury, the reason you got into this whole mess. Hatchlings is The Stooges starting a brickfight, then smirkingly denying all involvement. Ancient Cowboy Burial Ground, meanwhile, is serious business.
Think you can knock a band who share a name with a Saxon album? Just try it. Denim & Leather just made the best hardcore album you’ll hear this year, leaving everyone else with the unenviable task of attempting to follow it. Buy it, catch ‘em live, then steal a cop car and see if it’ll run on cheap lager. It’s a logical progression, trust me.
Our take: After a pair of standout 7”s, here’s the debut LP from Manchester’s Denim & Leather. I always feel the need to point out that the band’s name gives an incorrect impression… it makes me think they’ll sound like Motorhead or something, but Denim & Leather are one of the most progressive, artsiest hardcore bands around at the moment. In other words, if angular riffs, densely layered sounds, surprising rhythms, and thought-provoking lyrics are the things you want from a hardcore record you are really going to like this one. If you’re looking for some straightforward band comparisons, fans of Bad Breeding, No, Una Bestia Incontrolable, labels like Iron Lung and La Vida Es Un Mus, and bands who live in that fuzzy space between DIY hardcore and AmRep-style noise rock should be sure to check this out. I’m reluctant to describe this any further because it’s just something you have to listen to and appreciate for what it is. The record is jam-packed with ideas and Denim & Leather clearly have labored over its recording and presentation. It is a real feast for the ears, and if the above references have you intrigued I suggest you pick this one up with all due haste.