Lies / White Jazz – Split

4 out of 5

Label: Deathwish

Produced by: Jack Shirley (Lies), Chuck (White Jazz)

With apologies to Lies, you can just pick up this split for White Jazz and definitely get the ear-thrashing bang for your buck.

“Featuring members of…” bona fides really shouldn’t matter if the music is good, but our promo sticker on the front of this 7″ makes sure we’re aware that Lies has Hope Conspiracy peoples, and White Jazz has Rise and Fall members, but perhaps just let that (plus that this is on Deathwish) prepare your for the genre: hardcore punk.

And Lies absolutely do bring that, dialed to 11, it’s just that there’s a sense that the pummeling is assisted by producer Jack Shirley’s raw, bass-heavy work, which fuzzes up Lies’ noise appropriately, and helps to blaze past some weak rah-rah-authority-sucks lyrics and a mostly straight-forward three chord assault. Opener Cycle of Abuse has some surprises towards the tail end of its 1:30, though, when the group throws in a pretty kickass breakdown and changes the pacing up, the bassline swooping in a bit contrary to the guitar. These are headbanging joints, for sure, if typical of the genre.

White Jazz is something else, though. Punk, yes, but with some math-y / blues-y riffing sprinkled throughout, giving the tracks a unique flavor that’s torn apart (in a good way) by the boisterous yowls of frontman Chuck, also producing. In this case, the production is also in support, but that’s the key: support, instead of as something of an autotune-like assist. White Jazz give the impression of killing it even if recorded 4-track, and regardless of the venue – big or small. The lyrics are angry, yes, but the snark and phrasing has some sarcasm and intelligence behind it; it’s both fun to sing and read along.