On the quilt of Ithaca’s 2019 debut, The Language of Damage, a vivid pink chef’s knife carved up a grayscale picture of your commonplace raucous hardcore present. So too did the London five-piece make mincemeat of monotonous metalcore, skewering its exclusionary historical past whereas folding in adventurous tastes of different genres. The shirts emblazoned with “Cease supporting racist bands” and the press releases decrying metallic hardcore’s “lack of ambition” weren’t only a public-facing persona—the music went there, too. Language managed to include doom, crust, black metallic, and screamo, whereas vocalist Djamila Boden Azzouz threw down the gauntlet to contemporaries with lyrics like, “Nothing you say strikes me/You’re not what you mentioned you’d be.” Ithaca have been a band on a mission, bursting into the style and combating their method out for 31 relentless minutes. Now they’ve reached the throne room.
They Worry Us, their second album, doesn’t lack aggression—it opens with Boden Azzouz spitting out the bones of her enemies over a windmill kick of a groove: “Don’t say you may take it/Don’t suppose I gained’t break it.” However in contrast to Language, this isn’t an album targeted completely on pummeling the established order into submission. In a current interview, Boden Azzouz referred to as They Worry Us “a lot extra triumphant” than its predecessor, and this transformation turns into apparent lower than a minute into the album, when the clouds half for the hovering hook of “Within the Approach.” The guitars brighten, the drums speed up from a stomp to a gallup, and Boden Azzouz’s clear vocals take the reins: “Right here it goes/Aspiration holds.”
Throat-shredding hardcore vocalists pivoting to extra melodic fare generally is a sore topic amongst followers, however Boden Azzouz is best geared up (and certified) for the transition than lots of her reedy-voiced friends. She studied musical theater for a number of years on the College of Leeds, and on They Worry Us, you may inform. Whereas her singing took a backseat to her screaming on Language, now the 2 vocal types obtain virtually equal airtime. The remainder of the band responds by constructing songs round brighter, dare-I-say hammier melodies. Language relied on the traditional post-hardcore transfer of contrasting all-out assaults with quiet, fairly moments, however They Worry Us’ magnificence is louder, bolder, and extra drawn-out.
Up to now few years, shoegaze has emerged because the vacation spot of selection for heavy musicians in search of to pivot, and They Worry Us proves that Ithaca will not be immune. The album’s lush sound and clear hooks pit them ever nearer to UK forebears like Svalbard and Rolo Tomassi, and Ithaca wield the affect whereas sustaining their very own unshakeable persona. “Fluorescent” specifically nails that gloriously artificial Diamond Eyes sheen with its wealthy palette of digitized guitar results and Boden Azzouz’s Chino Moreno-esque capability to change from a keening wail right into a screech on the drop of a hat. All of the whereas, drummer James Lewis retains the band’s heavy chops on the forefront with alternating double-pedaled breakdowns and peppy blastbeat/D-beat hybrids.