To play noise rock properly there is often a certain level of grime that needs to be employed to fully capture the unique aesthetic. Musically, this is rather simple to achieve (or so it seems). Distortion is turned up, tuning is turned low, and the drums provide a powerful backdrop as they cut through the ungodly noise of the other instruments. However, to fully encapsulate noise rock’s grime, simple musical degradation is not enough. To fully play noise rock, a certain aesthetic lyricism is required, even grimier than the music that surrounds and drives it.
Initially, this lyricism was pioneered by the slacker-by-way-of-burn-out California hardcore “legends” Flipper, as well as the often perverse and sadistic Big Black. The two acts, stylistically different in many ways, drew a certain kind of glee in exploring the smut that truly made up the average human being, and consistently reflected that lyrically. These lyrics, in addition to the music, supplied a certain attitude to noise rock that became as essential to the genre as the music itself. Unfortunately, this attitude is not always easy to emulate, and has led to an aggressive number of hopeful noise rock bands who simply cannot pull off the swagger. Luckily for us, however, Whores. is not one of those bands, but instead pulls off the grime of noise rock with flying colors.
Whores., hailing from the Atlanta, Georgia, give noise rock a semi-needed kick in the ass as they rip through their album, carefully blending the roar of Big Black and Rape Man with the sludge-ridden, lazed power of Flipper. Gold, the band’s debut album, initially begins with the pounding of opener “Playing Poor”. It is a fairly average length song clocking in at 3:05, but by the time it ends it feels like much more of a sucker punch. The track begins, unrelenting, with a precise (and, at the quietest, about a forte) drum roll before the thick crunch of the bass rips in with an aggressive guitar lead and vocals following not long after. With this track, Whores. immediately show that they are capable of producing the grimy, depraved attitude so essential for the noise rock LP. A sense of urgency to the misanthropy is created, drawing recognizably from all the big names in noise rock as influences, but leaving a distinct mark on a well-played card as it is met with a much more flail-like anxiety.
This is where Whores. excel, as they manage to not only initially spark this attitude with the opening track but also drive it through all of the tracks to follow, in addition to a certain level of biting sarcasm that is as endearing as it is off-putting. Take, for example, the off-kilter, self-deprecating swagger of “Mental Illness As Mating Ritual”. The track is a perfect marriage of the loser, begrudging humor of Whores., with a dense noise rock buzz that envelopes the listener and forces its way into their memory with an oddly compulsive ear worm hook. Perhaps more so than any other track on the album, it offers a sincere glimpse at the (depraved) talent of Whores. as a band who truly exemplify the attitude noise rock acts so desperately attempt to achieve, as well as showing off an immense talent for writing. It is a difficult task to pull off a true aura of misanthropy, an off-putting sense of noise, and a carefully crafted melody all in one, but Whores. does so on “Mental Illness As Mating Ritual” with flying colors.
However, even that one track does not fully encompass Whores. masterful execution of noise rock. The band seamlessly weaves these elements throughout the entirety of Gold, constantly punishing the listener in the most vague of ways before drawing them back in with such a strong underlying groove and melody that it is impossible not to bob your head. Whores. certainly does not redefine the extreme style that is noise rock, but at the same time make it completely their own, creating a masterfully executed, self-deprecating album that it is necessary to listen to at least once.
Whores.’s Gold will be released on October 28th via eOne Music.