Lighten Up Absolutely Not

On their debut full-length, Lighten Up waste no time referencing a long and credible list of Philadelphia hardcore bands, literally and figuratively. With an arsenal of ferocious riffs, relentless rhythms and tons of shout-along, one-hitter hooks that Paint It Black could easily lay claim to, and the fact that all 12 songs are packed into 17 minutes, they give new meaning to another Philly institution's war cry: "shorter, faster, louder!" With one of many nods to their '80s forefathers, singer Perry Shall delivers an album full of Ian MacKaye-worthy, pissed-off criticism with lyrics that are, much like MacKaye's classic Minor Threat musings, both self-reflective ("Reality World") and an explosion of pent-up, observational head-shaking ("Life on Earth"). What the two master so well is the desert-dry sense of self-aware humour that dangles their style just over smugness, but ultimately make them a part of a conscious scene, and not to mention, really damn likeable. (Jump Start)