Trash Talk – ‘119’

The best album of Trash Talk's career - aided and abetted by their pals Odd Future

When Tyler, The Creator decided, in May this year, to make troublesome Californian dope fiends Trash Talk the first non-rap artists to sign to his Odd Future label, it made a lot of sense. It’s no secret that Lee, Garrett, Spencer and Sam are into hip-hop, and Tyler himself directed the video for Trash Talk’s 2011 single ‘Awake’. Sure, it’s true that the Sacramento quartet’s three albums so far – 2007’s ‘Walking Disease’, 2008’s ‘Trash Talk’ and 2010’s ‘Eyes & Nines’ – are best consumed in a dingy basement by those who are hardcore at heart. But the idea of introducing members of the Odd Future crew on their fourth record ‘119’ seems inspired, especially when you hear the track ‘Blossom & Burn’, on which raw punk clashes with Tyler, The Creator’s terrifying drawl and Hodgy Beats’ sparky menace.

Something else that makes sense is the lack of a big-name producer on ‘119’. No Steve Albini (as on ‘Trash Talk’) or Joby J Ford from The Bronx (as on ‘Eyes & Nines’). It’s self-produced. It’s Trash Talk making music Trash Talk want to listen to – so much so that it’s named after the address of the LA loft they practise in. Opener ‘Eat The Cycle’ instantly lifts ‘119’ up and away from the sludge of their last album, and ‘My Rules’ cascades into your ears like a glass splinter. ‘FEBN’ tricks you into thinking the album is drifting into calmer territory before finding the volume control and blowing your dome wide open with beer-soaked angst. Dive into this beast in a live environment and you’ll be cracking bones on the dancefloor.

It’s ‘Reasons’, though, that supports the theory that as the Californians have spent more time being stoned, their creative process has matured. The most obvious progressions are the band’s clearer song structures and Lee Spielman’s vocals. The frontman screams his way through 14 songs in 22 minutes, as co-vocalist Spencer Pollard roars like a territorial lion from the shadows behind. The pair are explosive, and joined by guitarist Garrett Stevenson and drummer Sam Bosson, they cater for every element of hardcore as the album lingers on the edge of metal and the West Coast toxicity of The Bronx, Circle Jerks and Black Flag. ‘Apathy’ is the music you get at the kind of upbeat punk hangout that often causes a police presence around these lads, and ‘Fuck Nostalgia’ will send fist-pumps through your iPod.

The album closer, ‘For The Lesser Good’, captures the blistering energy that makes the band so thrilling for anyone who likes their hardcore punk as unpolished and unpretentious as the day the genre was born. It comes at you again and again like a demonic puppy over the course of its 28 seconds. It is the very essence of Trash Talk.

Kelly Murray