Album: 9 Lives
Southern states, we need to talk. More and more frequently, the trademarked southern “swing” from infamously “southerncore” bands like Every Time I Die and Maylene and the Sons of Disaster has been finding its way north–what gives? The latest example of this is the wonderfully dirty, gloriously distasteful and ravenously raunchy release from Canadian metalcore deviants, Partycat and their debut full length 9 Lives. Filled with quick riffing, grimy grooves and ear-catching vocals, Partycat are further proof that you don’t have to be from the dirty south to indulge in the staples of dirty southerncore.
From the very beginning, 9 Lives is a raunchy, uproarious roller coaster of an album which never slows down. “Mistress” kick-starts the album with tongue-in-cheek (and some other things) lyrics that let the listener know that Partycat are here to do one thing–party. Driven by pounding, pulsating drums and catchy grooves that infect your mind for days and refuse to leave. Partycat’s constant, dissonant groove and bouncy songwriting keep the album flowing so fluidly that it keeps the listener interested, and rather than dissuading them after a listen or two, invites them to give it a couple more spins and find more, in-depth things to enjoy.
More than the other instrumentation, the guitars really take center stage. Accompanying the half-sung half-screamed vocals, the almost-mathy, heavily southern riffing truly defines 9 Lives as a metalcore juggernaut. Even after the frenetic energy behind “Mistress” dwindles, Partycat’s insane fretwork doesn’t. “Dead Hands” opens with a low-down-and-dirty riff so gloriously catchy that it sounds like it comes right from Every Time I Die’s Get Damned. On top of it all, southern crooning clashes with traditionally hardcore-influenced shrieks to create an idyllic vocal paradise which creates a fitting habitat for the godly nature of the guitar playing. The guitar isn’t all groove and swing–”Moonshiner,” among other tracks feature riffs that might as well be B-Sides from Stray from the Path’s Make Your Own History–in the best ways possible. This multifaceted, talented guitar playing adds a remarkable depth to Partycat’s otherwise light-hearted musicianship which is refreshing to say the least.
It isn’t too frequently that party-heavy bands create atmospheric, thoughtful catchiness that really sticks. Whether it’s “Gold Rush” and it’s catchy chorus and tricky time-changes, “Dead Hands” and it’s diverse riffing or “Mistress” and it’s rollicking, intense drumming, Partycat creates a dynamic on 9 Lives such that every track has a little something to enjoy. The only downside to this is that while the guitars and vocals are constantly at the tippy-top of their game, some tracks wind up sounding a little homogenous. This isn’t necessarily bad, but when stretched out over nine tracks (9 Lives, 9 tracks, get it?), the slight repeats in vocal dynamics and the samey-sounding guitar tone might be grating to some. However, even these slight repeats don’t stop 9 Lives from being a quixotic southerncore paradise.
Whether you’re kicking back with some bourbon and a movie after a long work week, or doing it up right on the weekend with your friends, 9 Lives has just enough southern comfort to keep your head–and your body–moving. Packed with gyrating riffs, catchy vocals, party-time lyrics and a dynamic which won’t quit, Partycat have truly found the best of the south and brought it way up north.
For Fans Of: Every Time I Die, Memphis May Fire, Dead and Divine, Stray from the Path, Maylene and the Sons of Disaster
By: Connor Welsh/Eccentricism