Review: “Laugh Tracks” by Knocked Loose

Oldham Kentucky American Hardcore Punks Knocked Loose have been around since 2013. “Laugh Tracks” is the bands 2016 debut full length, following debut EP “Pop Culture” and was produced by Fit for an Autopsy & END guitarist Will Putney, who is also responsible for gems from Upon A Burning Body, Northlane & Stray From The Path to name but a few. Since the albums release, frontman Bryan Garris has also appeared on songs by a number of other bands, including Gideon.

The album opens with a the driving riff of “Oblivions Peak” which crosses the lines between hardcore and metal neatly. The pounding drum patterns from Kevin “Pacsun” Kaine add a bounce and energy that takes us straight to the circle pit. It’s headbanging music with intelligent lyrics that are straight to the point from the very off. No fat to be trimmed. The slowdown in tempo to close is a master stroke in solid song writing. The band then burst into “Deadringer” which neatly ups the pace, bounce and energy. The production from Will Putney is spot on, drums are crisp and clean and the guitars pack a punch while playing to bands strengths. “Deadringer” bizarrely closes out with some 80s music like a radio fade. “The Rain” then piles breakdown on breakdown while overlaying a lead and Bryan Garris’ face melting vocals. They’re not quite the barked style of Bury Your Dead‘s Matt Bruso, but they are in the same realm. “Blood Will Have Blood” offers the first vocal contrast with a few spoken word lines to mix it up. Shortest song “Counting Worms” brings a scream-a-long quality that is befitting of Every Time I Die. Raising the bar with something short and sweet which also punches you in the face in the same breath. It also seg-ways neatly into “My Heroes” which shares a similar intro part whereby guitar strings are suppressed to shine. The vocal line “All My Heroes Went to Hell!” will be a sing-a-long, if you can get your breath back from the circle-pit! “Billy No Mates” then takes us back to the spoken word drop outs but ups the contrast by pushing the unclean opposing end of the vocal lines up a level. It could almost be called anguish with its lyrical content. “Last Words” makes use of a swirling riff during the pre-chorus before leaping into a punk speed hardcore riff and then dropping back. It’s a good use of atmospherics while maintaining that headbanging quality that fills the whole album, start to finish. Not straying from the beatdown hardcore style but showing fluent and strong musicianship within the chosen style. “No Thanks” a song about the band being DIY and not wanting any handouts or free rides. The hardway or the highway. No Quarter. “A Fetish” is another tune that will have gang chants at live shows. It’s refreshing to have the title track of an album close it out. “Laugh Tracks” itself is a punchy hardcore tune and ending with canned laughter is pretty fitting. The album as a whole takes the beatdown hardcore route with neat tempo changes and fist swinging riffs.

Its true to say that Knocked Loose aren’t pulling up any trees or pushing any boundaries. It’s also fair to say that frontman Bryan Garris demonstrates hardly any vocal range on this one, save a few drops to spoken word before leaping back to unclean barks. But neither of those things hold the band back in any way, shape or form. Instead, the band play to their strengths and deliver something that while on the face of it is straightforward, is delivered with such fury, passion and skill that its a really, really good time. An album full of headbangers and circle pit material, to the point, this reviewer would defy you not to bang your head throughout! The album is out now via Pure Noise Records. [9/10]

Track listing

1. “Oblivions Peak” 3:38
2. “Deadringer” 3:00
3. “The Rain” 2:56
4. “Blood Will Have Blood” 2:25
5. “Counting Worms” 1:11
6. “My Heroes” 2:37
7. “Billy No Mates” 2:14
8. “Last Words” 2:36
9. “No Thanks” 2:16
10. “A Fetish” 2:20
11. “Laugh Tracks” 3:52

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