The playing is impressively epic on Hard Feelings' D.R.B.C.
In addition to seeming to be from a different time, Hard Feelings doesn’t sound like it’s from around these parts. While the quartet openly declares an affinity for the Wipers and the Replacements, the songs on D.R.B.C. would fit perfectly on a mix tape featuring the likes of Naked Raygun, Articles of Faith, and the Effigies. Born out of the Chicago underground in the ’80s, those acts wrote their own rules, putting a turbo-dirgey spin on punk rock that made it as appealing to depressives in black trenchcoats as to dogmatists in black leather jackets. That brings us back to Hard Feelings.
While the group bills itself as punk rock, that doesn’t begin to tell the whole story on D.R.B.C., the title of which is a tribute to the band’s former drummer, Devon Clifford, who died of a brain aneurysm in 2010. Those curious about where ’80s hardcore eventually spiralled off to would do well to check out “Does It Float?”. With a propulsive bass line and gang-chant vocals, “New Equation” is postpunk you can actually dance to, while the cascading “Maracas” starts off all restrained and menacing before exploding into a dum-dum bruiser.
Through it all, the playing is impressively epic, with singer Al Boyle getting a gold star for not seeming to give a shit that he’s destroying his vocal cords one song at a time.