Arizona’s American Standards’ new single “Phantom Limb” bursts like a racehorse just out of the gate. The band essentially never let up throughout the entirety of the track, offering a relentlessly pounding brand of noisy punk that feels like it’s moving forever forward. Setting their inescapably exciting music apart, the band feel like they’ve made some thrashing music more accessible than it often proves without sacrificing any of the force. At least some of this feeling probably pops up thanks to Kevin Antreassian, the former guitarist for The Dillinger Escape Plan who mixed and mastered the track, which feels — somehow — both comprehensible and wildly chaotic. They upend expectations from both sides of the spectrum.
American Standards feel like they operate with a clear appreciation of those luminary bands like Dillinger while at the same time forging their very own path. They feel like they can really make a mark with their music thanks to an apparent passionate commitment to the core of what they’re doing that translates into a pressing urgency that pulsates through their music. They do not sound well-suited to “casual listening.” Instead, it’s almost like “Phantom Limb” grabs the listener by the shoulders and sits them down in a chair so they can take in what the song’s got to say.
As that metaphor might suggest, there’s a certain “human” element to the track, accented by a couple of portions of clean vocals, which allows for a different experience than one might find with some of the band’s contemporaries. This chaos grows on you and has a human face. The band feel more on the open-ended side of the prevailing spectrum than the wall of noise side, which feels like it suits them — and the corner of the music community they’re in — perfectly. The fact that they really have something substantively individualistic to say as a band shines through thanks to their particular song constructions. That’s fitting since they went from a Victory Records-distributed debut full-length in 2012 to operating totally DIY.
Ultimately, their new song itself feels like an encapsulation of a refrain that appears towards the end — “I’ll never quit!”
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