Thirdface - Do It With A Smile [BLUE/CLEAR VINYL] - New LP
fierce, menacing and unrelenting--even when for the last few cuts they sort of pull back up into the churning rapids of black water and let pounding sounds surround the delivery, essential HC punk from 2021. -- winch (green noise)
|On ‘Do It With A Smile’ Thirdface creates intense, untethered, interesting and meaningful hardcore, full of references to horror films and Black westerns, with an unrelenting approach that saves no breath. True to their roots, their punishing label debut ‘Do It With A Smile’ was created in the attic of a standalone garage where the majority of the band lived at a critical point of transition in 2020. Their record carries with it what was forced into harsh relief that year: vocalist Kathryn Edwards’ frustration at the cyclical torture of wage slavery, ever-present and ever-thin allyship and feminism, and a low hum of negative thoughts, hopelessness, and the struggle to survive in an unforgiving world.
"Though hardcore loves to pretend it’s averse to deifying its individual participants, the genre’s history proves that’s a good dose of bullshit. Entire careers were built on the backs of unpredictably energetic singers and guitar players’ distinct, thundering riffs (or lack thereof). Thirdface aren’t interested in continuing that tradition. On their debut album, Do It With a Smile, the Nashville-based hardcore punk band—comprised of vocalist Kathryn Edwards, bassist Maddy Madeira, guitarist David Reichley, and drummer Shibby Poole—refocus on hardcore as a collective action, bringing it from the idealized cultural imagination into the tangible present. The result is an intense, rapid-fire call to arms that inspires even the most acquiescent listeners to take action. Thirdface prioritize melodic clarity in their songs in a way that brings to mind the creative fury of Los Angeles hardcore group Dangers or the exhilarating build-ups of Modern Life Is War, but whereas those peers do so in a way that embraces hooks, Thirdface opt for shape-shifting guitar passages more akin to Converge or Drowningman. In 22 minutes, they use this sound to tackle covert racism and clout-chasing men while invoking cultural touchstones like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Black westerns, and Fist of the North Star. On “Ally,” Edwards mocks those who misunderstand the point of racial support (“I read all the books/Where is my medal?”) and on “Chosen,” calls out institutionalized practices that uphold misogyny. These themes aren't just armchair criticisms. Outside of the band, Edwards strives to bring her ethical beliefs to life through Drkmttr, an all-ages music venue she co-founded in East Nashville. Dubbed “the center of the city’s growing indie, punk, and hardcore scenes” by Rolling Stone, Drkmttr transformed over the past year from a DIY club into a community hub championed by the likes of Soccer Mommy and Hayley Williams for its involvement in grassroots activism, mutual aid work, and voter education. When Edwards screams about frail allyship and wage suppression in Thirdface, she’s doing so with the type of well-versed speech that comes from someone who does the work and then questions how to improve upon it. In a way, it’s like a modern-day version of The Lumpen, the funk band started by the Black Panthers after realizing that youth meal programs, community health clinics, and police accountability wouldn’t revolutionize the fight for racial equality without simultaneously spreading the word."
Do It With A Smile — the debut full-length album from the Nashville hardcore crew Thirdface, which is available now via Exploding In Sound Records — quakes with grimy, grueling rage. The album is, without a doubt, electric, but interestingly, Thirdface have crafted the journey around a rather personalized feeling. The dynamic range on the album helps — from the lightning strike rhythms and staggeredly pummeling riffs on “Customary” and “Local” to the ominous atmosphere-oriented segments on “Ally” and “Villains!” — but there’s also a real personal-feeling touch in the foundational rhythms. The slower pace on “Villains!” in particular spotlights this element of the record — the rhythms are grueling, and they seem to capture feelings of raw desperation. There’s a menacing fullness in the sound, which feels — at least from one angle — like a sonic freight train. The group’s version of hardcore feels abrasive, and all of the components of the instrumentals add to the roaring and confrontational feel, from the thunder-crack drums to the flamethrower riffs. Vocalist Kathryn Edwards’s performances add fierce and ragged screams to the bracing mix. The sheer intensity of the music helps broaden the impact, because it’s seriously wild. Even during its most intense moments, though, Do It With A Smile doesn’t feel unreachable, like a storm spinning at a distance. The album’s central perspective feels like it’s smack dab in the middle of that raging storm — it is, quite simply, intense. Catharsis doesn’t exactly feel like an overriding theme of this Thirdface effort, especially in any sort of conclusive sense – it literally ends with a song called “No Relief,” and that’s the vibe here. The music, which always feels gripping, barely ever stops moving, and there’s not really space to marinate in any kind of extended period of self-contemplation. Still, there’s a very definite level of fist-pumping energy here, and the music would no doubt be rather awesome in a live setting, as it’s both striking and invigorating. When the album slows a bit, like on some of “Legendary Suffering” with its snaking riffs and crashing low-end, that gut-rattling energy feels particularly pronounced, like suddenly getting thrown into fierce wind. “No Relief,” which closes the album and ends with its title repeated as a refrain, also features some slower vibes, but the music remains eminently forceful. The dynamism of the rhythms makes the album feel, though, like a richly poignant piece of personal expression, and in a rather expert way, Thirdface feel like they’ve quite powerfully captured some of the excruciating tension that can accompany a basic level of self-expression under present social circumstances. The fiery sound feels rather broad and immersive, so the reflected tension includes both inward struggles and outward pressures. Ultimately, Do It With A Smile feels like a fierce musical statement of self-assertion in the face of a tenuous feeling that the world, in a metaphorical sense, is closing in. Amidst the tension, that inward power continues, and it’s awesome."