Foulbrood – Two Inch Astronaut

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It’s strange to think that Foulbrood is already Colesville, Maryland natives Two Inch Astronaut’s third longplayer, but a minute into excellent and somewhat misleadingly catchy opener “Foulbrood,” it becomes abundantly clear how mature they’ve become. Foulbrood is their most expansive and cohesive work yet. Sam Rosenberg fronts the band with his usual Jekyll-and-Hyde act – equal parts charming croon and blood-boiling scream – but with more confidence and conviction behind it than ever before. This is also true of the instrumental side of things, as Rosenberg (on bass and guitar) and drummer Matt Gatwood execute their complex parts and ideas with the precision and direction befitting a band that’s been around much longer than Two Inch actually have.

Though it’s by no means a new element of their sound, one of the most impressive things about Foulbrood is how the band seamlessly transition and flit between disparate moods and unexpected tempo changes but still manage to create something incredibly cohesive. Two Inch don’t like to sit still for too long, but that’s what makes them so damn fun. For instance, the slowdown about fifty seconds into standout track “Whole Crew” is particularly impressive: the band stops on a dime, changing directions with an uncanny naturalness and smart musicality.

All of these elements would make for a compelling record on their own, but what makes Foulbrood really exceptional is the lyrical substance that lies underneath the frenetic energy the band has crafted. This record is their darkest and moodiest effort yet, proving that Two Inch can execute in their softer moments as well. Slower tracks like “Black Fridge Area” and “1, 2 Talk” hit just as hard as their more energetic counterparts. The album’s centerpiece “Dead White Boy” is twisted tale about the media’s tendency to portray white perpetrators of heinous crimes as tragic characters who weren’t at fault for their crimes. The slow burner’s gnarled and complex nature perfectly represents the volatile nature of the media that the lyrics portray. It’s teeming with really biting and critical lines, including one of the hardest-hitting one-liners I have heard all year: “Hell is no place for someone of your complexion.” The song is a really ambitious leap for the band and easily a standout in their discography.

While it certainly could be said that Two Inch Astronaut are a band that wears their influences on their sleeve, that would be doing Foulbrood a disservice. There are plenty of original ideas here to say that they have carved themselves a distinct place in punk today. They are simply continuing the bloodline from their nearby D.C. ancestors that undoubtedly influenced them.  Foulbrood is one of several insightful and ferocious punk records from 2014 such as those by their cohorts in similarly heavy bands like Big Ups, Greys, and Single Mothers. Foulbrood is a damn near perfect record that proves they are a band that should be on your radar for the foreseeable future.

Read our interview with Two Inch Astronaut here.



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