I have to admit to having no idea as to the meaning behind the band’s name, if I were to hazard a guess, I would say it’s some kind of sporting reference (?). What I do know however is that the band who are two-decade scene veterans, hail from Orange County, New York and are made up of Steve DeLucia – drums, Ray Wasnieski – bass and Edmund Ciarfella on guitar/vocals.
Laces Out released their Self-Titled debut EP way back in 2017 and have been busy during the pandemic writing not only the Roger Podacter EP which saw a release back in July, but now this here debut full-length. The band have been tagged with the post-hardcore brush, which is what brought them to my attention in the first place, while the geometric style art by Joe Kelley (who also designed the aforementioned Roger Podacter EP cover), hints at a potential math rock influence too.
Kick And Scream from the off reminds me of classic At The Drive-In, what with the angular musical approach and the Cedric Bixler-Zavala style vocals. There is an urgency on display that has been missing from post-hardcore in recent years as well as an emo sensibility (well, the original incarnation rather than the eyeliner faux goth nonsense that it later became associated with). Chemicals has a catchiness and a bounce that is absolutely undeniable ala The Breeders, before its explosive and cathartic screamo style conclusion, a balance that is beautifully struck and feels entirely naturalistic.
Impulse demonstrates more of a noise-rock influence ala Jesus Lizard, however it feels a little more subtle than say the likes of Pissed Jeans and The Grasshopper Lies Heavy (great as those bands are). Stability is more of an experimental meandering number and recalls post-rock outfit Slint in places, as well as one of my all-time favourite bands, the hugely underrated and overlooked Engine Kid, while All In nods to the math rock of Drive Like Jehu. It’s so tightly wound with tension that you can envision the veins popping in the band’s foreheads as they are playing.
Here At The Ashram will satisfy anyone with a hankering for vintage 1990s post-hardcore and noise-rock…
Ipkiss Please is really the standout number on the album and it’s of no great surprise that a video was released for it. This is pure Fugazi through and through and what with the likelihood of that band reforming looking increasingly unlikely as each year rolls by, it may be left to bands such as Laces Out to pick up the mantle and carry on the great work of that pioneering outfit. This to me is what makes this track in particular so important and effective.
Jacob is a little more melancholic and downbeat than its predecessors, which makes for a pleasant change in pace whereas Shooter by contrast is a shot in the arm with a bit more of a hardcore flavour, (think Government Issue and Marginal Man), and hence absolutely thrilling to listen to. The album ends with its longest number, The Truth Tolls, and if I’m honest doesn’t really add a lot to proceedings. I feel that the record would have been better served ending with the sucker punch of Shooter, so while this is by no means an unworthy track, it is one that feels a little surplus to requirements.
Final track aside, the album makes for a spirited and fun listen, especially for someone like myself, who a lot of the time is more immersed in the worlds of dark ambient and post-punk/deathrock. Here At The Ashram will satisfy anyone with a hankering for vintage 1990s post-hardcore and noise-rock.
Scribed by: Reza Mills