Institute: Catharsis 12"

Sacred Bones Records


After demoing for several weeks at home in Austin, the anarcho punk band Institute tracked and mixed Catharsis in just four days between Christmas and New Year's Eve 2014, in New York City with Ben Greenberg at Brooklyn's Gary’s Electric. "Cheerlessness" carves out the perfect trine foundation to aspect both the anthemic "Cheaptime Morals" and the much looser jam "Christian Right" (the latter featuring fellow Texan Andrew Savage of Parquet Courts). Issues of morality, sexuality and religion are all interwoven seamlessly throughout the 10 tracks as the band explores new sonic astral space.

Our take: New LP from these Austin punks, and as with each of their previous records it's so good and so much better than the last that it essentially renders their other records obsolete. A few days ago I read the Pitchfork review of this record and I feel like it gave a very weird impression of Catharsis. That review concentrates on the doom and gloom of the lyrics, and I could see someone reading that and coming away thinking that this is a hyper-depressing record a la Joy Division's Closer or something. However, that's really not the case. In fact, what I've always liked about Institute (and what they get from who I've always contended are their closest musical progenitors, Zounds), is a sense of lightness--even playfulness--in the instrumentation. Everything feels very loose and organic, which sounds refreshing when many bands are almost too tight for their own good. The bass and guitar occupy very different frequencies and are almost never playing exactly the same thing, and the push and pull between these instruments is, to me, what really creates the magic on this record. And magical it is indeed! This is just a captivating listen the whole way through, the kind of record I can put on and just watch the turntable spinning, getting lost in its intricacies. Without a doubt one of the best things I've heard in 2015 so far, and highly recommended.
Tags: 10s anarcho anarcho-punk melodic post-punk recommended texas