Published Mar 02, 2012Via two EP's and a split seven-inch, Vancouver's Damages have specialized in concentrated doses of bombastic post-hardcore the last few years, but the troupe are now heading into weightier territory for their first full-length outing, Indignation.
The ten-song effort arrives today (March 2) through React! Records, and while a press release says it retains the chaotic appeal of '90s influences like Shotmaker and Shellac, the new record "explores a heavier soundscape," with sonic nods made to long-gone noisecore acts like Deadguy and Kiss It Goodbye. Pulling from these influences sets the band apart from some of their even more old-school hardcore-influenced local contemporaries
"While we are huge fans of '80s hardcore, I think it was in the '90s that hardcore music started to explore different sounds, textures and emotions," Damages frontman Carl McBeath tells Exclaim! "Hardcore music in the '90s, I think, reflects greatly on what the mindset, issues and emotions were at the time in that scene; and resultantly, the music that was produced at that time became more complex, diverse and, at times, intense."
Lyrically, McBeath says he was inspired by the social and political climate of his Vancouver hometown, though many of the album's themes are universal and, unfortunately, timeless.
"The issues that Vancouver faces -- gentrification, marginalization, drug addiction -- are all common throughout the world. Other lyrical content dealing with introspection, regret and family history were all written through a very personal perspective as well; however, these lyrics too are relatable, I think, as these are issues that I feel many people deal with on a regular basis, and subsequently let dictate much of their lives. So while I wrote the lyrics with every intention for the album to be Vancouver-centric, it came out being an album with very relatable content."
Indignation adds an extra element of the West Coast through its artwork (see the cover above), though, which features images from Canadian artist Lincoln Clarkes's Heroines photo project focusing on a number of women dealing with drug addiction in the city's Downtown Eastside.
"I think unless you frequent the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, people generally are not exposed to the reality of what exists in certain parts of Vancouver," McBeath explains. "For the general public, I think, it is easy to forget that the marginalized portions of our society are people with very human problems. It's easy for the public to negate them as real people with human problems, but when it comes down to it, quite simply, they are people like us, just with a different and more harsh set of problems... victims of circumstance. When we saw Clarkes's photos, we thought he did a great job in humanizing the reality of what is out there, a harsh reminder that humans are humans, despite the circumstance."
Indignation comes with a 12-page booklet with additional artwork that contrasts Vancouver's past and present. Damages will be playing a record release show tonight (March 2) at Vancouver's Iron Road Studios with Set Foot, Out of Sight and Kunta Haji. The show also serves as the release party for Out of Sight's self-titled seven-inch on Dead Instinct Records.
For an idea of what to expect, you can stream Indignation in the player below.
5. Plea Bargain
7. Righteous Indignation
8. Body Tells Brain
9. Superstitious Pigeons