I need Muscle Vest to admit something as soon as feasibly possible – where have they been hiding all this time? Their latest EP, Live Laugh Loathe is filthy noise rock at its finest and a reminder of why I continue to fall ever more in love with this corner of our world. Add in that they’ve got something to say by lampooning “lad culture”, elsewhere viciously railing against the daily grind and the overbearance of corporatism and its exploitative nature, and you’ve got an incredibly worthwhile listen.
What it lacks in time (a whole twelve minutes), it makes up for it by not wasting a second. As visceral dissonant guitars introduce “Creepy Crawlie” with hints of Brutalism-era IDLES permeating throughout, Muscle Vest make their intentions known immediately – pull no punches. Which they don’t. If anything, they only work to intensify their mission as the EP continues. “Stray” drips with anger and filth with just a hint of danger as its rage builds to a delightfully uncomfortable crescendo and finds the band at their rawest.
Meanwhile, EP closer “Blissbucket” doesn’t even come close to the two-minute mark and acts as the exclamation point on an emotive run-on sentence. Full of galloping guitars which race breakneck drums and pinned to vocal chord-tearing screams makes for a brutal finale. Overall, it’s an EP which is oppressive in that its music washes over you yet pulls you along for the ride, backed up by a tight band.
Live Laugh Loathe feels like therapy for Muscle Vest – as they spit rage and filth, you can feel it in their music as if trying to make their music a reflection of how they see the world around them. They create an ugly noise to stand shoulder to shoulder with some of the best noise rockers around and I want more of it.
Live Laugh Loathe is out now