It was only yesterday; Expire released Pendulum Swings, their first full-length record via Bridge Nine Records that had everyone reeling. It’s been a while, even though it doesn’t seem like it. Ever since then the mid-west hardcore powerhouse has been making waves the world over, canvasing most of the States followed by tours to Europe and Japan. I was so taken aback by that record that I ordered it on different formats and I still have the mp3s on my phone and iPod. Probably the best record of a generation in not only opinion, but by various other blogs, writers, hardcore kids and bands alike.
Fast forward to the here and now and it’s time for a new record and their second full-length via Bridge Nine titled Pretty Low. But what can you expect from a band that has accomplished so much in just 2 years since their last release? More of the same I’d say. Pretty Low is not to be outdone by its predecessor as it consists of 11 tracks of heavy hitting mid-west style hardcore. It has that same grim rhythm and flow as Pendulum Swings and it is very easy to relate to the songs, personally. Every now and then you find yourself at a point in your life and you’re super frustrated because you feel trapped, with no outlet or way to express yourself. Don’t worry, the guys from Expire got your back as they rip it up from the get go with the title track ‘Pretty Low’, which really hits home and I related from the start.
I feel that the record has an incredible flow; it has that heaviness, rawness and grit that gives Expire that signature sound. The riffs and drumming sets the stage for some powerful and heavy themed tracks from a lyrical point of view. You know a record got you when the songs hit home with you on a personal level, which was the same for me with Pendulum Swings and the more I listen to Pretty Low, the more evident it becomes.
The record has an incredible energy about it, be it negative themed, I feel that it has eerie atmosphere. It crushes from start to finish and I feel it’s a lot darker than most people will give it credit for. In short this record deals with a lot of vices that trouble the youth of today and even some of us who consider ourselves “grown-ups”. Each track has a unique message and it won’t be the same for everyone, but the message is there.
Picking my favourite tracks off this record is pretty much impossible, but ‘Pretty Low’, ‘Just Don’t’, ‘Fiction’, ‘Gravity’ and ‘Rejection’ were the ones I related to the most on the first couple of listens. It probably isn’t fair to comparing two releases with one another, but I would say that that Pretty Low measures up to its predecessor in more ways than one. The record as whole is fucking tight and will be one of those releases to look back on at the end of 2014, as one of the best.
I would highly recommend Expire – Pretty Low to all of you who enjoyed their music in the past and even to those readers who’ve only come to grips with Expire for the first time. It’s definitely a release for hardcore fans everywhere.