Introductions To Departure
By: Eric Greenwood
The Ladderback, a trio from Raleigh, North Carolina, employs tried and true ingredients in its aggro-punk attack on this- its fierce and focused second album. For a trio The Ladderback certainly creates an inordinate amount of noise- the overdubs notwithstanding. The guitars blast in short spastic bursts while the bass and drums cling on for dear life. Flip-flopping between hardcore punk aggression and faint, melodic stripes, Introductions To Departure is a scary listen. The vocals bark in a strained, throaty cacophony because nothing exemplifies rage as much as a frantic scream, and The Ladderback exploits this trick on practically every track.
Picking out the influences is a dangerous game, but The Ladderback flaunts a few, almost daring any comparisons. Sonic Youth. Check. The entire early 90"s San Diego punk scene (Heroin, the Gravity Records roster). Check. Antischism"s ferocious vocal attack. Check and check. You get the picture. It"s punk, but smart punk- very dissonant and cerebral with glimpses of actual songs lurking beneath all the chaos. The Ladderback is a fiery mass of contradictions, embracing the violence of punk while being too smart to break the actual bottle over its head. Punk originated as a sloppy expression of rage. This is calculated rage, but it rocks all the same.
Some of the changes are curious, but what The Ladderback lacks in craft it more than makes up for in emotional terror. That is until you read the lyrics. Before I flipped open the lyric booklet, I would have imagined that the person behind these lyrics had some serious relationship issues or a few political bones to pick. But I can"t make heads or tails of lines like these: "Suspect denied, under sheets of self-motivated contrived/wilted eyes/and matchsticks of moderate men depicted"?" What he"s so angry about I have no idea. If I put the lyric booklet away, I can just sit back and let my head rattle, pretending there"s a reason for such passionate ranting.