The Coathangers make their punk music-flavored view of the world stick big time with their new album The Devil You Know, out March 8 on Suicide Squeeze Records. They never lose the core noisy punk that might set them apart to many, but there’s so much more to them than that. Rather than simply utilizing noise and angst for the concepts’ own sake, the band meld those sonic themes into a grander portrait that’s focused more on what punk (as a concept, not a genre rulebook) is about in the first place – rugged individuality.
This time around, essentially every aspect of the band’s work drives this point home, making for a remarkable and clear unity of purpose that makes the music that much more impactful. Musically, the band are somewhat upbeat, but they’re not monotone. They don’t offer an overly simplified, “happy” view of things via their freshest elements; they simply push a directly melodic sensibility into their sonically urgent framework and let the newly married components take off. Their songs feel catchy, urgent, and even irresistible at times, while maintaining sonic depth that makes the work jump out. The band sound like they’re playing their punk-structured music how they want, letting it ebb and flow according to the will of the song and thereby liberating their craft from distraction. Even apart from others’ enjoyment of the result, it’s refreshing for someone crafting art to let themselves and their vision loose.
The Devil You Know’s thematic presentation can’t be separated from The Coathangers’ music’s overall push. Repeatedly, they offer direct lyrics lambasting interests from the morons on the street corner or wherever else catcalling women to the National Rifle Association, which refuses to acknowledge that maybe responding to tens of thousands of gun deaths a year with more guns is an outlandish idea.
It’s clear that at least at times, they’re pissed off, and understandably so – the caveat here is that they’re doing something about it. Their music down to the rough but totally accessible and even catchy vocal work packs their apparent feelings perfectly, and now it’s just up to us to listen, and spread the word.
Listen below via Bandcamp