Instruction 1: Place CD in holder. Instruction 2: Turn up the volume. Instruction 3: Try and enjoy the visceral post-hardcore rock that pummels your ears like a knock-out contest with Mike Tyson.
This debut album from the New York quartet is angry and waspish and not without a hint of mordant cynicism. Comprising of three ex-members of Error Type: 11 and one Quicksand ex-guitarist, Instruction’s sound is that of a mature collection of musicians who’ve been through the music rat race long enough to have any bright-eyed naivety well and truly scratched out. In fact, this is a band that ‘has a go’ at quite a number of people.
The snarling Your Punk Sucks bitches about those immersed in “safe suburban thought rebellion” who spew out the kind of “mediocre” punk that is acceptable for radio. Rest assured with the expletives here, this song sure as hell ain’t going to make it on air. Death To The Four Car Garage Band lashes out at the rich kids who have “trust funds and post punk hair”. But hey, Instruction aren’t bitter (!). Title track, God Doesn’t Care If We Blow Up The Fucking World is a seething eight-minute block of anger at those who “are waiting here for God to save your soul, when war is the only peace you’ll ever know”. Yep, it’s another war song.
Instruction may have the maturity that breeds this sort of gnarled up vitriol, but musically there is no focussed style on here.Breakdown could be a Foo Fighters track, with Arty Shepherd’s raspy exclamations akin to Dave Grohl’s. There’s also a similar brand of rough yet feel-good melodies.I’m Dead doffs a hat at U2 with its modern rock stance and bellowing anthemic vocals. Pissed Me Off Again is unadulterated punk while, perhaps the most alarmingly different track on this album, Feed The Culture is more subdued with a distinct sitar thread, like it’s world music wearing a hoodie.
Multi-genres may make for a rich album, but it also fragments and dilutes the anger so clearly heard in the lyrics. With no clear direction and with the listener’s ears honing in on the different styles, the full brunt of the verbal abuse is lost.
There’s no denying though that Instruction are a thunderous band, who are sadly not as well recognised over in their home country as they are over here. In fact, it took at UK tour supporting Funeral For A Friend for Polydor to notice these livewire firebrands. After releasing E.P.’s Great (the title-track of which has been reversioned here) and Rise Up, they were holed up in the studio with rock producer Bob Ezrin (Pink Floyd, Alice Cooper, Kiss) to record this debut, and are currently promoting it in the UK again supporting A.
But thunder aside, Instruction sound like so many other bands trying to cut it – Hundred Reasons, Alkaline Trio and Jimmy Eat World to name but a few. So whether the UK will actually prick up its ears and rush out to buy this debut is questionable, despite filling it with depth and variety. They may rock out with guitars and shredded voluminous vocals on overdrive, and do it with intelligence, but there’s nothing fresh and exciting here.
Instruction 4: Read the lyrics in the sleeve notes. Instruction 5: Try and muster up the anger felt by the band. Instruction 6: If that fails, remove CD and leave it to gather dust.