Oh, Baby! I love The Ladderback! The Ladderback is the kind of band that reminds us what punk rock is supposed to be about: finding new ways to rock that intimidate, alienate and stand out from everything else in the music world. Trigger Themes, shows the band doing all things punk rock, and creating a record that will be long remembered in the same way that Drive Like Jehu’s Yank Crime is — as a measuring stick for brutality.
The Ladderback has always been rather spastic, scream-y, melodic and mathematical, but with this release, they add darkness and gloom to the mix, making for the most distinctive mathematical post-punk record since Spanakorzo’s goth-spazz-scream classic Drama. The guitar melodies will draw immediate comparisons to Spanakorzo, Quixote and Don Caballero, and the sound The Ladderback has is not a far cry from what those bands have done in the past. Yet, The Ladderback has found a way to take what those bands have done and make it scarier, darker and much more menacing. Much of this is due to the absolutely blood curdling screams and growls of lead vocalist Jay. He screams and freaks out in a manner similar to that of Locust frontman Justin Pearson, circa his Swing Kids days; he goes absolutely nuts, and his enthusiasm for the music bled through my speakers and rocked me right out of my pants!
I don’t remember The Ladderback using keyboards in the past, so I’m pretty sure that it’s a new thing for them. But the ethereal swishes of the keyboards contrast well with the aggressive grating of the rest of the instruments. In terms of other “newness” for The Ladderback fans, you will find that the production on the guitars and bass is much crisper than on previous releases, allowing for a clearer understanding of just how powerful these guys really are.
I know for a fact that fans of Planes Mistaken for Stars will go insane over how incredible this record is, as they are the only other band I would consider The Ladderback’s contemporary, in terms of rockin’ness and overall destructive capabilities. These guys are a little cleaner than PMFS, but they’re just as aggressive and scary. Just as Angelhair invented this wheel, The Ladderback has refined it, and made this genre something to be both proud of and something for their fans to hold sacred, once again. This is my pick for single best album of the year, hands down.
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