Briefly after our recent special feature here on IDIOTEQ, post-hardcore supergroup BITTER BRANCHES shared their new dual-track EP, Along Came A Bastard, out via Equal Vision Records. Composed of Tim Singer (Deadguy, Kiss It Goodbye, No Escape), guitarists Matt Ryan (Calvary) and Kevin Sommerville (Lighten Up!), bassist Brian Kantorek (Go! For The Throat, The Curse) and drummer Jeff Tirabassi (Walleye), the band eschews genre expectations to give the listener something special – an exploration of the musical pedigree the groups legendary lineup has honed throughout years of touring and recording. On Along Came A Bastard, the band worked with producer Mike Bardzik (The Casualties, Kill Your Idols), with mixing by Kurt Ballou and Zach Weeks at God City Studios, and mastering done by Brad Boatright (From Ashes Rise).
The EP is a high octane mixture of post-hardcore and gritty alternative punk that propels forward at breakneck speeds with an emotive energy that rivals any summer blockbuster. Titular track “Along Came A Bastard” starts with a slow-burning, serpentine riff and anguished vocal that crescendos and recedes throughout 3:40 of fury. “Fraudulent” hits with a more straightforward type of controlled chaos that carries the tune to an explosive ending that speaks to the groups expertise in crafting compelling (and catchy) hardcore.
On the theme behind the title track, the band stated: “We need to flip the premise. Instead of talking about ‘bad apples’, we need to come at it from the angle of ‘we are only as good as our worst actors’. That’s the only path to change. If you join a shitty organization with shitty practices, you are now part of the problem no matter how nice of a guy you might be.”
8/14 – Providence, RI at Simmons Farm w/ Wrong War, Bulletproof Backpack & more
8/15 – Philadelphia, PA at Creep Records w/ School Drugs & Wrong War
9/18 – Pawtucket, RI w/ Verbal Assault, The FU’s & more
9/22 – Garwood, NJ at Crossroads w/ Boysetsfire & All Else Failed
While it would be easy to rely on storied musical resumes and just relive past glories, Philadelphia’s Bitter Branches have taken a decidedly opposite approach. Consisting of members of Deadguy, No Escape, Calvary, Walleye, The Curse, Lighten Up! and more, the band steps away from the sounds of the past to further explore the possibilities of punk and hardcore. Their songs speak to the thoughtful frustration gained from years of experiencing firsthand exactly how the world does and oftentimes doesn’t work; and from seeing both peers and heroes fade slowly into comfortable obscurity. Rather than hopeful daydreams, Bitter Branches offers a refreshingly honest observation of society, with scrapes and scars on full display.
Musically, the band has little interest in conforming to the sound of the moment, instead building upon skills honed over years of touring and performing to create something that is unquestionably greater than the sum of the individual parts.