Here’s an admission: The first time I listened to “Indoctrinate,” the first track on Raylond Hamm’s (BKGD) new demo EP, fuck., I didn’t make it past 30 seconds before skipping to the next song. I’m all for aggressive dissonance and bad-tempered attitude, but there was something about it that felt forced and heavy-handed, like taking a sledgehammer to a sheet of desiccated drywall. I’ve since amended my opinion on the song—not for some newly acquired appreciation of its quality, but because it’s such a defiant tone-setter for the remainder of the EP. At its heart, fuck. is a dark and foreboding release, one that doles out dread and fear and anger and scorn in increasingly corrosive increments.
Lean yet jagged, “Away” sounds like the Jesus Lizard having an existential crisis over their own misanthropy. Brittle guitars bend and break against steadfast drums and a rumbling bass slathered in distortion. The groove here is queasy and elastic, strutting forward with a leery swagger full of rage and punk catharsis. Meanwhile, “Blood Everywhere” stumbles quite literally out of the gate with a punch-drunk beat and a buzzing, seesaw riff setting the stage for Hamm’s gruff, spoken word polemics.
If you take anything away from what I’ve written here, let it be that fuck. is not an easy listen. None of it is pretty, or very tuneful for that matter, but there’s something about the record’s aura of claustrophobic malaise that keeps things interesting, if not downright compelling. My best advice? Listen at your own discretion.