Black Coffee, Bad Habits is, in fact, Choke Up’s debut LP.
Choke Up is a four piece melodic punk/hardcore band hailing from Boston that offers more than just the template of the melodic punk/hardcore sound. These guys seem to do it all on this fourteen track album. And they do it well.
Sure, they’ve got the screamy, emotional style hardcore lead vocals but they’ve also got really well done harmonies. They’ve got the heavy distorted guitar riffage you would expect, but they’ve also got perfectly placed clean tone guitars picking melodies laced over other melodies sprinkled throughout. The drums on this album pack a punch. I mean, they’re huge. The songs are driving, catching, melodic and heavy and they rage from one track right into the next. Think Lifetime meets Rites of Spring on their way to meet The Get Up Kids.
Black Coffee’s opening track “Wildflower” is a perfect example of their sound. It’s got all of the above elements from the slow opening clean tone lead guitars, a dramatic build up, then phase shifting from fast to slow to fast with shredding guitars accentuating the drums gallop. The guitar parts are so good that even they can stick in your head on their own.
The first tracks on Black Coffee offer some choice cuts including “Crosses,” an immediate and catchy-as-hell track, and “Thicket and Vine” which is more of a live burner. “1301 Las Vegas Blvd” is a personal favorite and total album standout.
After that, Choke Up does something unexpected to round the record out. They offer two slower acoustic tracks ripe with pedal steel guitar and strings. “Dry Out” actually sounds like it could seamlessly fit on a Bright Eyes album. Seriously. “Polka Dots” is another surprising singer/songwriter number.
These guys are good. Really good. If you are a fan of punk and melodic hardcore, Black Coffee, Bad Habits is more than worth picking up. These guys have the sound locked down and I look forward to seeing what they do next with the genre. More than that, though, I’m curious as to what they could do beyond the style, as they show enormous songwriting talent, totally nailing those singer/songwriter style folk songs. Whatever they do, make sure to give this album a go before Choke Up starts going places.
Black Coffee, Bad Habits Tracklist:
My Oh My
Thicket And Vine
Don’t Wake Up
1301 Las Vegas Blvd
Woke Up Drunk
Live And Die