InstituteCatharsis (Sacred Bones)
Self-hatred can be a powerful artistic statement. Hate police, hate the government, hate the church, hate your woman – those are well-trod avenues of punk virulence. Directing that animosity inward, as Moses Brown does throughout these locals' debut full-length, resonates with unique potency. Institute's singer declares his emptiness on lead-off salvo "Perpetual Ebb" before giving himself a black eye with loathe-in "Admit I'm Shit." "Beat me to a pulp – like a dog – till you can't recognize me," he urges over moody, midtempo anarcho rock that, riding the colorful guitar of Arak Avakian (Glue), agile basslines of Adam Cahoon (Wiccans), and measly post-punk pitter-patter of drummer Barry Elkanick, resembles the Stooges with more right angles. Brown's detuned detox moan, showcased in cringing a cappella on standout track "Cheaptime Morals," lands between Darby Crash and Iceage's Elias Bender – if not a Texas School for the Deaf choirboy. Such ugliness cements the vision of Catharsis. Institute releases their wretched misery, and we feel better for observing it.