by Chris Harris
“Goddamn.” – That’s the entirety of the first draft of my review of the scorching new LP from Blacklisters, Adult. It obviously deserves more. But, at the conclusion of my first listen, that’s really all I had. For most of my life, I’ve been cursed with hearing most music through the ears of an obsessive engineer and an oft-jaded musician. It’s a very technical and repugnant way to enjoy music. To be pulled into an album the way I was with Adult is a real treat. I didn’t care how the drums were panned, or why they did this or that. I just rocked the fuck out. (Side note: I did get sucked into counting out the weird time signature of one of the standout tracks, “Weasel Bastard.”)
The album opener, “Shirts” kicks off with a pretty loose guitar riff. As the guitar becomes washed in high-gain ringing, the song sucks right into the pocket of the same riff, tight as hell, and the first verse has begun. This song is an anthem. It’s definitely difficult to listen without shouting along, “S! - H! - I R T!!”
While Adult certainly packs in the riffs, and the killer screamed vocals have an obviously implied intensity, noisy dissonance and feedback contribute just as much to the intensity and tension of these tracks. The drums and bass are exceptional throughout the album. The bass tone is heavy and thick. I love the guitar tones. The drums sound perfect. I’ve been making noisy albums for 15 years and this is really exactly what I think a really tight, noisy rock band should sound like.
There are plenty of easily recognized references and influences on Adult. Most of them came along at a time when they could seriously impact underground culture and also be exactly what some kid in Oklahoma or New Mexico or Kentucky needed to hear at exactly the time they needed to hear it. I don’t even know what “underground culture” means anymore. But, the optimist in me is certain that this album came along just in time for a lot of young people who need this. This album is aggressive, smart, emotional, and dangerous. If this album can put hope and optimism in my cold black heart, I can only imagine what it can do for a young person who is looking for something to believe in. This is one of my favorite releases of 2015.