Artist: These Streets
Album: Out of Time – EP
Staying alive and ahead of things these days is a constant struggle. Life is a full-blown rat race, where everything is a competition—at best, the losers are sent back to square one, only to compete for the same basic rights as everyone else. At worst however, the losers are crippled, left to build themselves back up from scraps, lest they shrivel and die. Those who do—the few who survive defeat against stacked odds—become stronger than ever, a monument to their past weaknesses and imperfections.
Maybe that explains just how Modesto hardcore act These Streets got to where they are today. Bouncing back after a hum-drum release (Clockwise), Out of Time is a frantic, furious—yet thoughtful and introspective—display of hardened, self-built and sinister hardcore. Combining metallic riffs with quick, punchy percussion and bone-splintering breakdowns, These Streets take a solid hardcore sound and beef it up with experience and personality, making it simultaneously aggressive and intimate.
Out of Time is a tumultuous sea of tremendous, anthemic breakdowns and fist-swinging, fury-filled riffs and beatdowns, linked together with fluid transitions and an entire power plant’s worth of raw, ravaging energy. Percussionist Mike Arredondo is the band’s quickly and steadily beating heart—driving every track into the listener’s head like a jackhammer. Even during the short-but-spastic introduction, Arredondo is manic behind his kit, stringing together speedy kick-and-snare patterns that don’t let up until the EP is all but done. Breakdowns and beefy, beatdown friendly segments like those in “Break Slow” see Arredondo holding nothing back, working with bassist Josh Day to drown the listener in jarring dissonance. Together, Day and Arredondo work together to keep These Streets tight and on-time, as guitarist Trevor Peeples dances stop them with everything from fight-inducing riffs to skull-busting breakdowns. Peeples is both straightforward and energetic—on “Membership Declined”—and pensive, on the brooding and mellow “The Note.” As Day and Arredondo keep a constant level of bold bounce and drive behind every track, Peeples successfully provides diversity and dynamic, building up countless grooves and riffs until they collapse on the listener in the form of devastating breakdowns and bare-knuckle beatdowns.
Where These Streets may not reinvent the wheel when it comes to their musical approach, the band certainly turn heads with their vocal dynamic. Frontman Cameron Grabowski dominates Out of Time with range and diversity most hardcore bands don’t even attempt to include. Performing primarily with a shrill, high scream, Grabowski occasionally digs deep for a hefty mid-range shout (see “Membership Declined”) and even lets loose with a gritty, raw and very metallic singing voice—which accompanies the mellow, melancholy candor of “The Note” exceptionally. Grabowski draws from everything from depression to disgust for his lyrical content, and Out of Time is that much stronger for it—touching on thoughts of suicide on “The Note” with equal intensity as he speaks about division and disparity within the hardcore community on “Membership Declined.” For people who claim diversity in hardcore is either dead or dying, Grabowski disagrees and backs up his argument with expertise and aggression.
These Streets took me by surprise in an incredible way—where I expected a fun-yet-standard issue hardcore release, I was given a great change of place that is both punishing and personal. Out of Time is as frantic and aggressive as the name implies, but it is also a hardcore release with heart to back up the bold, bare-knuckle anger it possesses. With catchy segments—heard on “Membership Declined” and “Eyes of Medusa” with introspection to boot on “The Note” and “Innocence,” These Streets have grown into a band that pack more punch than one might think—making their latest album something you will definitely want to get your hands on before you’re out of time.
For Fams Of: Lionheart, Desolated, Madball, Left Behind, Delinquents
By: Connor Welsh