Two Inch Astronaut

Foulbrood

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Foulbrood, the third LP from Maryland-based indie trio Two Inch Astronaut, is a tightly crafted post-punk set with moments of sublime smart pop and clever dark hooks all held together by some delightfully viscous guitar fuzz. Often touted as heirs to the classic Dischord sound, singer/guitarist Sam Rosenberg, bassist Daniel Pouridas, and drummer Matt Gatwood have been on the other end of comparisons to Fugazi and Jawbox since the release of their first EP in 2010. They're from the D.C. area and they do operate in a style that has obvious roots in the capital's influential post-punk/hardcore heyday, but with Foulbrood, they prove they're truly their own animal. Opening with the dazzling title cut, they hit an immediate bull's-eye, layering an intricate, chunky groove with elements of mid-'90s fuzz pop and a chorus that could have come from an early Sloan single. They're often moody and sometimes angry, but are far too sophisticated to rely on tired emo and post-hardcore tropes, instead offering razor-tight musicianship, snaky melodies, and thoughtful observations like on the standout "Cigarettes, Movies, and Boys." Echoes of '90s alt-rockers like Failure and Hum can be heard here, and some of Slint's creepy post-rock as well, especially when they slow it down on tracks like "Dead White Boy" and "1, 2, Talk." Contemporary parallels might be drawn to bands like Ovlov and Krill, but there is something about Two Inch Astronaut's mix of math rock precision, freewheeling fuzz rock, and melodic intelligence that takes them up a level. Foulbrood is the sound of a promising band hitting its stride.

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