REVIEW: Dragged Under – Upright Animals

0
193

It was almost 2 years ago when the Seattle punk-rockers DRAGGED UNDER took me by positive surprise with their feisty debut, “The World Is in Your Way.” The recipe for the band’s appealing sonic brew was a balanced mixture of pit-splitting punk, hardcore, and metal with diabolically catchy pop hooks. Released amidst the first waves of the pandemic, the outing already did subtly address the weird, early repercussions of this unprecedented shit-show. Obviously, none of us could have guessed how weird we would be having it for the next couple of years. So, now these punks are back with a vengeance, with a new studio effort called “Upright Animals,” coming out on June 10th, 2022, via Mascot Records. The album title seems to suggest that we are but animals walking on our hindlegs, monkeys in Armani suits, hardwired to rely on our animal instincts in order to survive. Judging by the world events in the past 2 years, these punks do have a point – but they also go at great lengths to show that you can harness that primal power for something positive, too, such as a new selection of twelve kick-ass punk-bangers, composed and delivered with sharpened claws, teeth, and style.

Alongside the album announcement, the band shared a video for the first single, “All Of Us,” in March 2022. The lyrics are about the importance of zooming out from the microscope through which we view our problems, to realize we are all in this together. Co-written with Brandon Saller of ATREYU and HELL OR HIGHWATER, the song is a hyper-charged, uplifting pop-punk onslaught with a chant-along chorus catchy enough to trigger pleasant flashbacks of those anthemic punk-schlagers of yesteryear. Just like it was with the debut, the sound might sound a bit too emo-metal-tinted for an old-school crustie. Then again, unless there is a rip in the space-time continuum, we shouldn’t be living in a time loop where we keep iterating the sound of the underground like it was 1977 again anyway.

While one of the trademarks of the band is that subtle, modern metal edge, on occasion, DRAGGED UNDER pays homage to the vintage pop-punk aesthetics rather nicely, like on the tracks, “Never Enough” and “No Place Like Home.” Then, the next thing you know, a song like “Crooked Halos” takes a headlong plunge into an almost 30 SECONDS TO MARS -like sonic realm, what with strings and all. In passing, the band’s vocalist, Tony Cappocchi, sounds bafflingly close to Jared Leto. Along with the aforementioned 3-minute banger, “Long Live the King” gears up on the same kind of alternative-rock flavor, which articulates a somewhat kindred spirit with that celebrity outfit. In other words, these guys aren’t holding back with their delivery. I guess it stems from the punky-metal attitude: it’s all-in or nothing. We wouldn’t want it any other way.

On this new offering, DRAGGED UNDER even tries on a bit of metalcore for size, on “Brainwash Broadcast,” featuring Spencer Chamberlain of UNDEROATH. The chorus, however, holds a steady footing in the pop-punk terrain, as though keeping things real. Already on the debut, you could hear subtle traces of bands such as BRING ME THE HORIZON here and there, while the general feel gravitated more towards the pop-punk realm. The same holds true for their sophomore effort. Different nuances are used just to spice things up a bit – and over the course of the past 2 years since their debut, these punk chefs have learned to master some new exciting recipes.

There probably remains still plenty of room for enlightenment to happen before we can consider ourselves anything other than animals walking around on their hindlegs. We are basically just monkeys with anxiety in business suits. That’s what the new DRAGGED UNDER effort is all about – but it also subtly suggests that things might work out for the better once we, if only for the heck of it, started entertaining the thought of finding unity in disarray for a change – and music, without a shadow of a doubt, is one of the best unifying forces in the universe. “Upright Animals” is one of those albums that elicits emotion from the purest places possible, for our enjoyment, and it sure helps that it sounds catchy as hell.

Written by Jani Lehtinen

Tracklist

  1. Upright Animals
  2. All Of Us
  3. Never Enough
  4. Crooked Halo
  5. Long Live the King
  6. Suffer
  7. See You Alive
  8. Weather
  9. No Place Like Home
  10. Words For Hire
  11. Brainwash Broadcast
  12. This Is the End

Lineup

Tony Cappocchi – vocals

Ryan Bruce – guitar

Sean Rosario – guitar

Hans Hessburg – bass

Kalen Anderson – drums

Label

Mascot Records

Links

Homepage

Facebook

https://www.instagram.com/draggedunder/