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Parents have the formula for a hardcore song down: immediacy, surprises, a sense that everyone in the band is disgusted by their instruments, and 120 seconds or fewer of runtime. Low Life, the new self-produced EP from the Auckland four-piece, is a lot tighter than their 2013 LP – there isn’t any sludge here, or breaks for clean guitar lines – just a lot of discordant rage. It’s great.
While some punk bands take the whole ‘distaste for professionalism’ thing into just not practising, everyone in Parents clearly knows what they are doing, especially the drummer. Their guitarist can blend in with the rest of the noise when necessary, then jump out at perfectly calibrated times, as he does with remarkable urgency in closer ‘Ravagers’. (Not that there is anything approaching melody here.) The vocals are handled perfectly, like pleas from someone dying of thirst, all gravelly and pained. The lyrics are predictably second- or first-person, far from boilerplate but also far from the point. The weakest song is the only one that breaks the two-minute barrier, as this gives them too much time to indulge in excessive low-chord-HIGH-NOTE-low-chord-HIGH-NOTE stuff, which is fine in moderation but sticks out from the other tightly wound fury here. Funnily enough, it’s called ‘Let Down’.
Parents feel disciplined, even experienced, but this hasn’t let them lose any energy. Low Life clocks in at just over eight minutes, but it will stay with you for days. Find it on Bandcamp.