An established punk musician’s reversion back to an older sound is nothing new, but to do it as well as Austin’s Institute is relatively rare. The melded influence of ’70s punk fury and modernistic ennui with the state of the world constitute the sound of “Cheerlessness”. Frantic palm-muting finds its legs on the path of a barebones drumbeat and starts the track with an attitude: the rhythm itself wears a black leather jacket, walks decrepit city streets. Wild swirling wails of guitar and crumbled bass rush to the forefront, voicing the anxiety and discontent embedded in punk’s DNA, as frontman Moses Brown’s droning monotone rambles on like an automaton deadened by society’s sameness. The camel’s back, however, seems to break after the second chorus: the melody changes in a descending meltdown and Brown’s diatribe turns into manic, incensed howls, obscenities taking hold of the lyrics as the instruments gradually fade.
Catharsis will be released June 9 on Sacred Bones. You can stream “Cheerlessness” below.