Album Review: MSPAINT – ‘Post-American’

Posted: by The Editor

The debut album Post-American from the Hattiesburg, Mississippi stalwarts in MSPAINT is what you might imagine it would sound like if you figuratively chose the red pill over the blue and descended into a digital landscape where elements of industrial punk, synthwave, and hip hop collide in order to bring about the truth. Blurring the lines between what we’ve neatly defined and categorized for our own understanding of what makes one type of music different from the next, MSPAINT is not here to make you comfortable. As far as they are concerned, genre is dead.

Comprised of Randy Riley on bass, Nick Panella on synth, Quinn Mackey on drums, and Deedee on vocals, none of the members of MSPAINT aside from Mackey have ever previously assumed their current roles in the band. This is possibly the most hardcore quality about them in that they dared to create something despite not necessarily knowing what they were doing. The result is the fantastically refreshing and innovative Post-American.

The opening track “Information” leaves no room for hesitation as it quickly grabs hold of you and spills out pleas that beckon for you to listen closely with lyrics like “start to look back / start to look back / don’t hide behind screens / become alert and respond.” With pushing bass lines and bright synth components dancing around each other like an electrical current that’s about to blow, and booming drums that emphasize the urgency of Deedee’s delivery of every syllable for every crucial word, it’s a nervous descent into a hopeful sort of self-awareness that continues throughout the entire album.

Post-American features Ian Shelton of Militarie Gun / Regional Justice Center on “Delete It,” as well as Soul Glo’s Pierce Jordan on the frenzied but verging on cinematic “Decapitated Reality,” and MSPAINT may have their roots in hardcore, but it would be a disservice to define them as an explicitly hardcore band. Free-flowing from a state of controlled chaos to what can best be described as the climactic points of science fiction movie soundtracks, their disregard for staying within the confines of traditional punk works immensely in their favor.

MSPAINT have something to say with Post-American and they say it with their whole chest. Thoughtful and observant, it’s a powerfully energetic album that seeks to express all the internalized frustrations that have come with the territory of being an American. Perhaps the defining quality of the album is that it’s not inherently an angry album, but it is a passionate one that lyrically encourages listeners to think critically and progress as they themselves redefine what it means to make music that does more than just recall nostalgic factors.

The album begs the question of how we will emerge in a Post-American world in the aftermath of all that has taken place and it answers itself with the closing track. Like flowers growing up from concrete.

Disappointing / Average / Good / Great / Phenomenal

Post-American is out today via Convulse Records.

Loan Pham | @senseofexile / @x_loanp 

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