Gotta Give It Up LP
(Pirates Press Records)
On the surface, the cliche that, “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” writes itself into any discussion about Gotta Give It Up. Yes – from the opening notes of “Hit & Run,” the opening cut on Gotta Give It Up, Sweat presents itself like a tight and intense unit – an imposing and very metallic entity which also speeds along at a breakneck, punk-informed pace – over which singer Tuna Tardugno spits an enraged, rapid-fire series of lyrical phrases which don’t really imply a coherent tought process, but do present an unmistakably defiant spirit (check out lines like, “I’m waiting for defeat/ I’m waiting for the storm/ I’m waiting for the war”) and will easily win the minds and hearts of listeners, on the right day. The levels of adrenaline are simultaneously noxious and intoxicating – it’s incredible.
Even more incredible is that, after the first cut, the energy never diminishes through the running of this A-side. After “Hit & Run,” Sweat shows L7 how to really throw their weight around while also defiantly proclaiming that they just “don’t care” before “Bastard” ambitiously revives all the best attitude problems that screamo used to capture, “Hard Grudge” plays the same kind of attitude problems at double speed and then “Life and Death Complex” swaggers out triumphantly to show listeners that they are that good and have nothing to prove when they close out the side, right then and there. The power with which the band (figuratively) just grunts and closes the side is genuinely compelling; the sound isn’t ambitious, but fairly drips with self-assurance and is easy to follow right behind and onto the B-side while sharing in the band’s cocksure manner.
While it would be hard to contend that the B-side of Gotta Give It Up starts on the single strongest song. “Bone To Pick” feels a lot like something which might have fallen out of the sessions that Foo Fighters did for Wasting Light, but with a far weaker vocal performance attached, and features the kind of soft close which implies that Sweat just wasn’t sure where they were going or what they were doing with the song, but Sweat manages to collect itself pretty well and finds its gear with “Mental” – a minute-and-a-half bruiser which picks up the thread which was left dangling by Gotta Give It Up‘s A-side. “New Kind Of Dag” tries its hand at stuttering its way through something which could be melodic hardcore, but is redeemed by the turgid feel and cowbell which powers “Art of Posing,” and then closes out the running strongly with one final explosion entitled “Poor Execution.” There, the airier production of the song coupled with the song’s slightly longer runtime (four and a half minutes) feels like a satisfying progression from where Gotta Give It Up started, and that sensation makes it really easy to come back for multiple plays through the album. That may not come off as the single greatest endorsement of the song or the album, but it works in practice – if not in theory.
With all of the above in mind, however, the obvious question becomes what listeners who have been won by Gotta Give It Up can expect from Sweat, on future releases. The truth is that there is no easy way to answer that question; Gotta Give It Up has enough power power and enough hooks to win listeners for repeat plays, but doesn’t leave an impression of what might come next from the band. Some listeners might find such an unknown conclusion worrisome, but the possibility inherent to the band’s music here is infectious. Those won by Sweat with Gotta Give It Up will have no choice but dare to be surprised by whatever the band releases next. [Bill Adams]
The Gotta Give It Up LP is out now. Buy it here, directly from Pirates Press Records.