I’m a huge fan of New Jersey-based punks Screaming Females ever since I saw them open for Against Me! in 2011. Hearing the group also introduced me to our friends over at Don Giovanni Records, who have made a name for themselves producing great bands coming out of NJ’s revitalized punk-and-hardcore scene.
So when I heard that Don Giovanni was producing Brick Mower’s new album, My Hateable Face, I immediately wanted to hear the label’s new offering.
Brick Mower apparently have been around since 2009, when they released their first EP. Since then, the group – made up of Eric Truchan on guitar and vocals, Kit Gogan on bass, and Steve Gennarelli on drums – have released two 7” singles and a full length album before joining forces with Don Giovanni for their newest release.
My Hateable Face comes out of the corner swinging with Touchdown Jesus, a song that showcases Truchan’s ability to write catchy melodies accentuated with sweeping guitar progressions that is sure to get any basement show audience amped.
The first track reminds me a lot of the bands I grew up with in the late 90s/early ‘00 Boston scene – groups like The Ducky Boys and Confront.
But then the band changes pace, replacing the speed and passion of the opening track with a slower
pace and more determined vocal delivery. The abrupt change didn’t set in well with me, with tracks
like Cheap Gas and Country Dry feeling a bit underwhelming. The band does have moments where they regain the fist-pumping confidence that emanated from their opening track, namely with Black Market Cigarettes and New Steam.
My Hateable Face, by itself, shows Brick Mower really has three major settings: the more-aggressive punk of “Touchdown Jesus” that can really stick with young listeners who are eager to find an outlet for their angst; the measured rhythms defined by Stuttering, the second single off the album; and the tracks that fall in-between the cracks. Songs like Stuttering and Off to the Races remind me of a lo-fi version of The Verlaines, with a strong focus on the drums broken up by moments of swelling guitars also similar to Sonic Youth.
Each song taken on their own offers something to the listener but, as a whole, I feel like My Hateable Face doesn’t live up to the promise of its’ opening track and still leaves the band an undefinable mystery on a label filled with fantastic groups. I’m eager to see the band live though, because something in me believes the energy and identity lacking on certain tracks is easily made up for in person.
Brick Mower’s new album, My Hateable Face, is out now on Don Giovanni Records. The band will also be playing shows across the US East Coast in November and December. Check out their blog to learn about upcoming dates.