[Album Review] Single Mothers- Negative Qualities
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by Mark Anthony Brennan


Release Date: October 7th, 2014
Label: Dine Alone Records
Single Mothers have had a history of fighting, turmoil, hiring, firing, rehiring, property damage, flaring tempers and equipment damage. Just what every punk/hardcore band wants to have on its resume. Fortunately, the guys have staved off self-destruction just long enough to put out their full-length debut. However, ‘Negative Qualities’ is such a pressure cooker of pent-up anger and disgust that you want to hold it at arm’s length in case the whole thing just blows up in your face.

The album kicks things off with a trio of high energy punk numbers lead by the sneering Johnny Rotten-like vocal delivery of front man Drew Thomson. However, on the next two tracks they head into more grunge territory, putting you on notice that these guys are not a one-trick pony. In fact, if you stop to listen (which is difficult to do given the record’s frenetic pace) you realize there is depth to both their style and their performance. In amongst the punk shock wave debris there are elements of screamo (“Crooks”), slow grunge (“Feel Shame”), alternative hardcore (“Ketamine”) and noise pop (“Money”). Furthermore, there are subtle touches, such as the beautiful guitar work in the background of “Ketamine” and the guitar reverb on “Crooks”.

If they can keep it together there are all the signs that Single Mothers have the vision and ability to be in this for the long haul. But Thomson is such a powder keg of frustration, contempt and loathing that you fear at any moment he will detonate without warning, taking down the band, their equipment and half a city block with him.