by Dylan Laug (@blackwithsapdad)
It’s hard to imagine a more fitting intro to Bib’s Moshpit 7” than the clearing of a throat and the forlorn plunking of piano keys that kicks off “Believe in Me.” This first minute seems like a thumbing of the nose to the hardcore norms that often leave the genre feeling more than a little stagnant to anyone other than the die-hard devotees. Although much of the 7” is decidedly mosh pit ready, the title belies the wildly weird directions Bib takes their sound over the course of these 4 songs.
The piano in “Believe in Me” is soon overtaken by a looming chug of guitars and Nathan Ma’s distinctive vocals that are heavily drowned in an echo effect, making any lyrics indecipherable. What the vocals lack in clarity, they more than make up for in what comes across as equal parts disgust and snottiness, making for the perfect accompaniment to Bib’s unique take on hardcore.
Bib excels in effortlessly shifting from one version of punk to another, often within the span of mere seconds. The sludgy riffs that adorn each track are balanced by short-lived melody at every turn, keeping these bizarre songs accessible to even the most fair-weather fans of what their label, Pop Wig, has termed “sketchy punk.” Nowhere is this better exemplified than on the beginning of standout track, “Freedom,” where a catchy cow punk riff reminiscent of those found on The Gun Club’s “She’s Like Heroin to Me” is run over by swampy chugging guitar nearly as soon as it’s begun.
The three guitarists in Bib (Justis Brokenrope, Jonathan Cobb, and Brock Stephens) do not leave any question as to why three guitars are needed on the song, “Hypnotized.” Each sludgy chord is backed by feedback-ridden effect pedal manipulation and psych-tinged noise that seems to swirl around you in such a way to give credence to the song’s title. Even though “Pressure II” follows much in the same plodding psychedelic vein as “Hypnotized,” Ma’s yelps and the combination of drummer Bill Liebermann and bassist Alex Kinnerk’s rhythm carry the frenetic strumming of noisy guitar to a memorable conclusion to the record.
Moshpit, in all of its noisy glory, makes for an impressive, if not disorienting, introduction for the uninitiated to one of the most exciting bands taking a walk on the wild side of punk and hardcore. If nothing else, it serves as a reminder that punk was never meant to follow a recipe and for that, we should all be grateful.