Coming off a near four year gap between their critically acclaimed 2018 album Cheer, the modern hardcore outfit Drug Church is back again with another eclectic hardcore offering. Hygiene is the band’s fourth studio album and second LP with Pure Noise records, and it might just stand as their most refined record to date. In many ways the album picks up where Drug Church left off, showcasing their knack for uptempo riffs, flamboyant vocal hooks, and crushingly powerful choruses. However, clocking in at 26 minutes, Drug Church manage to present a very accessible, dare I say pop-like hardcore soundscape, all through a tighter and more consistent package.
Simply put, from beginning to end Hygiene offers hook after hook. In fact, the best part about Hygiene is how it perfectly captures Drug Church’s ability to amalgamate quirky melodies with abrasive hardcore songwriting, all whilst making songs burst with delightfully fun vocals and dissonant guitar hooks. The tracks “Fun’s Over,” “Million Miles of Fun,” and “Premium Offer” mirror this particular facet of the band incredibly well — the punchy and syncopated verses on “Fun’s Over” which build to the song’s anthemic call-response chorus are bound to make it a new classic among the band’s catalogue.
With all the ‘fun’ there is to be had with Hygiene, there’s little to be said about any specific missteps as the band is firing on all cylinders through and through. Even from a lyrical perspective, vocalist Patrick Kindlon manages to capture a solemn yet humorous tone when discussing bleak and poignant themes. Whether it’s talking about the value and connection we place on art as heard on “Detective Lieutenant,” or the toxic interaction we have with 24/7 news cycles implied on “Million Miles of Fun.” Both lyrically and instrumentally Drug Church excel in their ‘short and to the point’ delivery, to which the band seems to be well aware of.
It’s no question that Drug Church has delivered a compact and decisively fun hardcore record with Hygiene. While it’s fairly limited within the quirky sonic aggression that the band has come to be known by, Hygiene is candid throughout its 10 tracks and 26 minute runtime. With that in mind, it’s refreshing to see a hardcore album that doesn’t continuously stray from its mission statement, or do anything profound in the form of genre bending. Despite it being somewhat of a one-trick pony, Drug Church has undoubtedly crafted their own signature hardcore footprint, and with Hygiene they’ve seemingly perfected it.