Sacramento noise punk band So Stressed recently released their debut full-length album, The Unlawful Trade of Greco-Roman Art. Not for the faint of heart, the record is the sonic equivalent of a panic attack, with frustration, anxiety, and crying included.
Throughout most of the album, Andrew Garcia’s guitar riffs crush like drones while the synthesizer acts as bass, holding the rhythm together with persistent tones and thumps. Kenneth Draper plays like a drum machine with a programmed imperfection, slightly slowing down and speeding up at whim while holding down absurd beats and maniacal fills. Vocalist and synth player Morgan Fox delivers genuinely upset screams, sounding less like someone who wants to front a screamo band and more like someone who is in a heated argument. His agitated shrieks are full of blatant statements and deeper metaphors, all of the messages coming through loud and clear.
The album, which was written over the course of more than two years, works cohesively as a statement of feeling legitimately restless. “Nervous Around Punks” is the best example of their furious frailty, Fox shouts “I just want to use my inside voice when I’m inside / I just want to not worry about who is behind me / I just want to not get sick because you coughed in my face.” A grim assertion that holds weight as a meditation on the overbearing worry that the outside world can create for an individual. The first single off the album, “Merv King and The Phantoms,” and its accompanying music video drive home their ideas surrounding the failed use of insularity as a coping mechanism. The track flows with distortion as Fox delivers some of the most revealing lines on the record, “I want to go to the ocean / Sit in the fog all night / Put on three layers / And still get the chills.”
The Unlawful Trade of Greco-Roman Art is sonically devastating. The mash up of brutal riffs and synthesizer produces walls of noise, and the drums add a thoughtful sense of technicality. With the added metaphorical lyrics, So Stressed creates a sense of urgency that matches the mental state of being fed up with the emotions that usually leave you feeling crippled.
Purchase The Unlawful Trade of Greco-Roman Art here. Below, stream the album and watch the music video for “Merv King & The Phantoms.”
Featured image via Honor Press.