Nearly four years after delivering a handful of demos along with a live tape then seemingly dropping off the radar release wise, Bloomington's LAFFING GAS swing back at any and all credulous hardcore punk enthusiasts who might have forgotten about them or thought they'd just run their course and faded into obscurity as so many tend to do. "It's a Beautiful Day in the Gulch" showcases 10 blazing tracks of classic Midwestern hardcore punk, the vibe of which is more in debt to the revolutionary aural offerings of the early Touch and Go and/or Version Sound labels or even Kick N' Punch Records as a slightly more modern reference than what the region has become synonymous with in more recent times. Each record comes in a stunning glossy jacket featuring art and layout by the band's guitarist Kora Puckett.
Our take: Those of you with long memories might have a recollection of Laffing Gas releasing a handful of cassettes in 2015 and 2016, but they’ve been radio silent sicne then. As before, their music reminds me of snotty hardcore punk in the vein of Career Suicide or Angry Samoans spiced up with dashes of the guitar sound and the visual aesthetic of the Coneheads / CCTV axis. Some moments slide more toward an Agent Orange / Adolescents beach punk sound (particularly “On Your Own” and the outros that end each side of the record), while tracks like “Same Cycle” have a straight up USHC style. Combining the snot-nosed catchiness of punk with the energy and blistering tempos of hardcore has always been a winning formula for me, and It’s a Beautiful Day in the Gulch is right in the sweet spot. Further, the variation in songwriting style and tempo from track to track makes it feel like a cohesive, well-developed album rather than a genre exercise. If you’re a fan of Chain Whip, Social Circkle, Career Suicide, and similar bands, this is a recommended grip.