Release Date: June 25th, 2021
Label: Pure Noise Records
For Fans Of: Title Fight, Fiddlehead, Arcwelder
Drug Church’s latest offering—the four song EP Tawny—is interesting more for what it promises than for what it offers. Containing the 2020 single ‘Bliss Out,’ and a cover of Arcwelder’s ‘Remember To Forget’ alongside two new tracks, it serves as a bridge between 2018’s Cheer and their yet-to-be-announced fourth album. Despite the slim amount of new material on Tawny, it’s a roadmap for what to expect next from the quintet: Caution, it’s going to be catchy.
The first thing you notice on Tawny is Drug Church’s focus on songwriting. While still playing punk that is drowning in distortion, snarl, and with a constant sense that all hell will break loose right after the next verse, there is much more attention paid to sticking in your head. Choruses feel anthemic while verses have a riff that you can’t help but tap your toes to. Don’t worry old school fans, there’s still moments of chaos you’d find on Cheer or Hit Your Head—it’s just more melodic now, and it suits them.
While 2020 single ‘Bliss Out’ warned of this direction, heard in the context of the EP you see the true potential of the band’s new sound. This is even more pronounced on the project’s two new originals—‘Tawny’ and ‘Head-Off’—which at moments borders on summertime pop-punk. However, Drug Church hasn’t sold out to the top-40 charts, instead the shift is more comparable to Title Fight’s jump from Shed to Floral Green.
Drug Church saves the most fascinating moment till last, covering Arcwelder’s 1993 song ‘Remember to Forget.’ Covers can go two ways: Sticking to the basics of the song with little tweaks or a complete rewiring. Drug Church opt for the former, keeping the grungy, uptempo feel and infectious riffs. While the first option is usually more fun, Drug Church’s version of ‘Remember to Forget’—especially in the context of the EP’s impressive songwriting—serves as a signal of things to come on LP4. While you would never call Arcwelder calm, they’re certainly more restrained than Drug Church’s previous work. With them as an influence and these four new songs, their new album could certainly be a departure.
Tawny is a good EP to tide over those of us who are wearing out our copy of Cheer. But as a hint for their potential to release a stellar grungy, catchy record, it’s an intriguing snapshot in the band’s new direction.
Recommended track: ‘Remember to Forget’