Review: “Dopamine Dealer” by American Standards
What happens when you and your band mates start to get older, wiser and a little more aggressive but your lives have additional dependencies that mean you simply can’t just jump in a van and tour like you used to? If you’re chaos driven Hardcore Punk quartet American Standards who hail from Phoenix, Arizona then you dial back the intensity while still living the dream. Two full length albums and two EPs in a five year run from 2012 to 2017 helped make their name before three singles in thee years seemed to have them on the decline but not so. Now they return a new three track EP titled “Dopamine Dealer” mixed by Sad Ghost Studios and mastered by Nada Recording (My Chemical Romance, Bayside, Shai Hulud) as the band continue their commentary on Social Anxiety with the promise of much more to follow…
…Imagine if you will a creepy, rusting, graffiti tagged ice cream truck on a hot summers day. A bunch of questionable looking types hanging around it as they buy and sell illegal substances and plot the demise of the odd gangland rival with Pennywise the Clown behind the wheel. That’s the mental picture that a warped sample paints as it ushers in the unhinged opening cut “The Dealer” as American Standards cut their way into our brains with odd time signatures and razor sharp aggression. Falling into the space between Every Time I Die and Glassjaw the pace is set for the three tracks by Brandon Kellum whose vocals are just as ferociously intense as they ever have been, the fires still very much burning in the eyes of the madman. Injecting more swagger and verve “The Vagrant” then dances around the brain like a nail after a building site accident. The lyrics flow with the kind of madness that Keith Buckley usually offers up while the adrenaline fuelled performance and catchy earworm riffs are exactly what Hardcore Punk was made for. Then comes the clincher, a dynamic song that includes an unexpected guest vocal appearance from Phoenix Gloom Rap artist Cody Milford of The God Samaritan. The band haven’t traded in their usual insanity however, driving forward with their usual style and and grace while throwing down the odd gang chant to bring things together. The rap verse is a welcome addition and surprisingly refreshing, the band having somehow managed to do the impossible. Simply put, no energy or aggression is sucked out of the cut in order to incorporate it and that ensures it doesn’t sound out of place. All in all an absolute blast of an EP, “Dopamine Dealer” is all the evidence the court needs to confirm that American Standards aren’t just alive and well, but thriving in the current climate. Long may that continue. [8.5/10]
- The Dealer
- The Vagrant
- The Tourist (ft. Cody Milford of The God Samaritan)
“Dopamine Dealer” by American Standards is out 3rd February 2023 and will be available everywhere you’d expect it to be including bandcamp.