Self Defense Family is a band that has been around for a long time. Taking influence from Lungfish and the Smiths, this New York hardcore band never disappoints. This EP is no exception. For being an East Coast band, Self Defense Family surprisingly captures Midwestern life with sincerity. The 4 song EP does not have a dull moment on it and the final track might be their best work of all time.
Superior opens with the explosive track “In Those Dark Satanic Mills”. This song isn’t heavy but the upbeat pace of the song makes it the most energetic song on the record. The song tells the story of a family who is effected after the local mine shuts down. Patrick Kindlon’s lyricism is simple but effective with lines such as “Fixated. Obsessed again. Fixated”. The guitar work is repetitive but layered in a way that makes each chord refreshing almost like a fast tempo Lungfish riff. The song bleeds straight into “The Climate of the Room”.
The second track on Superior called “The Climate of the Room” is a post punk anthem that starts with Pat’s half singing, but with an echo following every phrase. It’s the shortest track on the EP and is straight to the point. Lyrically this song makes Self Defense Family seem ignorant of the Midwest but is an honest perspective of someone who isn’t from the Midwest. Musically the song is spot on with complicated post punk picking. Half way the song transitions to down stroke palm muted power chords with Pat repeating the phrase “Big Bay burns. A collective feeling”.
The title track “Superior” is a slow burner. First listen, this track will leave you empty and not understanding it’s purpose. Eventually after multiple listens it is apparent that this track plays as a resting moment preparing you for the emotional destruction the listener faces with the last track.
“Good Idea Machine” is the highlight of this release. It has Patricks best lyrics and the best musicianship by the rest of the band: Kai, Benny, Alan, Andrew, etc. They recycle the riff from “I’ve got an Idea…” which adds a lot to the meaning to this track. In some ways this song seems like a sequel to “I’ve got an Idea”, showing how this man is addicted to change. The song is the most relatable material they have released and is sonically haunting. The drone guitar tones mixed with the repetitive drums and the depressing prose makes this song the best Self Defense Family release to date.