DetailsChock Full of Misery, the long-awaited and long-postponed new record from Tampa's New Bruises, is a masterclass in punk rock maturation. From time spent in the '90s punk trenches of the northeast to their eventual migration to the more hospitable climate of the Gulf Coast of Florida, the band would be considered elder statesmen if it weren't for the fact that they're staying up later than you folding records then up hours before your alarm drinking all the coffee in your house.
It's been almost six years since the release of Transmit! Transmit!, New Bruises' debut, in 2006. That's a long time for any band, let alone one in a scene with the turnover of contemporary punk. But for New Bruises, it's been time well spent, from recording a series of their own split releases and singles to releasing albums by bands like VRGNS, No Friends, and Bomb the Music Industry! through vocalist and guitarist Bryon Lippincott's record label, Kiss of Death. The life expectancy of an idealistic DIY punk band isn't too great these days, but New Bruises are coming into the release of Chock Full of Misery with even more fire in their collective belly than when they started, and a fantastically diverse record to back it up.
While still rooted in the anthemic pop-punk of their '90s roots, New Bruises have cracked their sound wide open on Chock Full of Misery, picking apart each song and putting it back together one piece at a time. The result is a record that hits harder while experimenting with greater dynamics and sonic left turns, keeping the full-steam-ahead feel of early Jawbreaker while infusing it with the nuance of Tim-era Replacements. It's sort of the band's Dear You, but without all the smooth vocals and kids slashing their tires. There's spacious slow-burners like "Five Questions" alongside catchy barn-storming jams like "One for the Looper," a track-by-track lesson in keeping your sound eclectic while maintaining a darkly distinct tone throughout.
They might make claims to being a part time band full of grown-ups with real jobs, but New Bruises spent almost two months on the road last year, and are looking to pile in the van again to spread the gospel of Chock Full of Misery. This won't be a naive and wet-behind-the-ears batch of fresh-faced punks showing up to play your house show and moving on to play bigger and better avenues inside of a year. It will be a band that's been all over North America and Europe, seen the dives and seen the basements, and come back for more. It will be a band that believes in something, not because they don't know any better, but because they've seen it all, and there's no place they'd rather be.
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