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Stress Relief | ‘Losing/Failing’ EP

Sometimes, all you need is a five minute blast of something to get you going.

Just a quick “pick me up” that enables you to leave your house and head to the train for work. People recommend coffee all the time, but the real trick is music.

Slayer or Razor in the earphones at that time of the morning? Hits the spot.

And so, we come to this 7′, which operates on the same principles: one side. Under five minutes. Eight songs. Get in. Make your point. Get out.

Back to basics, you could say.

Split over Chicago and Seattle, Stress Relief haven’t been very prolific in the recording front (two demo tapes and two 7’s since 2010), and these recordings have been decent enough, but nothing to really get exited about.

But now, six years since the last release, sees ‘Losing/Failing’ making an appearance. Just as well it was worth the wait.

Frustrated Chugging

Taking things slowly with ‘Broken’, which illustrates the fact that this is a protest record. One made by people who are down but not out. So don’t be fooled by the slower, hazier pace.

Because the pace picks up for ‘Actions’, one of the most tolerant “straight edge” songs: “Drink your booze. Smoke your joint/I don’t fucking care, just as long as the actions that you do, don’t fucking suck.” Power violence at it’s finest.

‘Pig’ follows in similar fashion, ending with some seriously frustrated sounding chugging towards the end, which heightens tension and serves as a cool segueway into ‘Vultures’, which has a more straight up punk rock tempo.

‘Harm’ is one I’m not sure about. Although the music is in line with the rest of the 7′ (i.e. scorching), my unease is down to the lyrics:

“Do you see that your words are demeaning? Can you see the effect of what you’re saying? Your words do more harm than you know. Why put others down for reasons you don’t understand or think are moral? Open your fucking mind and stop interfering with relations that you are not a part of.”

Now, I understand that there was probably a specific set of circumstances which led to the writing of these lyrics but, from my perspective, the singer is trying to straddle two positions but just muddles them up: one is objective, one is subjective.

Objectively, he is saying that such words have no place in public conversations.

Subjectively, he’s also saying that using such words, private or public, is inherently oppressive. It’s not impossible that he is right, but it’s also quite possible that he’s wrong.

Besides, try growing up in working class areas where this sort of look and music is considered “hippie” music. You’ll get used to the name calling quickly.

Aside from that one issue, I can safely proclaim this a blistering whirlwind of music that leaves you for six first thing in the morning.

3.5 / 5 – Christopher Owens ::: 21/07/18

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