Tonal dissonance and deathly contemplative lyrics à la Parquet Courts are what post-punk trio DiCaprio offer up on their full-length debut, I Went to the Mall Yesterday and I Got Sick. Cuts like “Ectoslavia” and “Negative Zone” are reminiscent of the sharp tension found on the New York quartet’s sophomore LP, Light Up Gold, though DiCaprio’s tunes are much heavier with their pulsing bass and tritone emphasis.
There is a lofty barrier to climb when pursuing this sort of disaffected, murky punk. The band’s deadpan vocals and nervy pitches don’t really belong together; it’s music that’s hungry for a melodic resolution that’s never fully realized. This certainly isn’t the springy post-punk Atlanta has offered up lately from the likes of Warehouse and Omni, where euphoric melodies and ornate instrumentation rub against the harsh realities of the human condition. On the contrary, DiCaprio is a high-flying flag of cacophony waving proudly in the wind. Occasionally there are glimpses of harmonious riffs that appear so intensely freeing from the minor chord, bass, and tom-heavy sound these guys play, but they are all short-lived. These are songs for the headbanging, black-clad people who are sick and angry.
The lyrics reflect all this musical negativity like the turgid waters of the oil-infested Gulf Coast. Assertive, end-all declarations such as “everyone’s addicted to something” (from “Pink Noise”) and “the grass is never greener, there is no other side” (from “Blank Plague”) are haunting and dark, embracing motifs of death, all-encompassing pain, and social exclusion. From the album title down to the last narcotic chord, the dominant atmosphere is one of oppressive anxiety and paranoia. There is only one color that comes out when I hear this music — a fully fed up, gothic black. It’s clear an immense amount of time and thought was put into this record and its execution is spot on. If it’s shadow and gloom you crave, this is an LP you’ll want to give your full attention to.
DiCaprio will celebrate the release of I Went to the Mall Yesterday and I Got Sick tonight at 529. They will be supported by Bodyfather, Glare, Jock Gang, and DJ Mannequin Lover. Doors open at 9 p.m. Donations encouraged. 21+ to enter.