Under the Influence – Exchange My Brain (2019)

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Hailing from the New South Wales suburb of Dapto, Under the Influence formed as a three piece in 1998 over a shared love of punk and surfing and have continued to engage in both ever since.

Uncompromising and relentless are the two words that come to mind to describe the new album from Under the Influence.  From about the 45 second mark of Exchange my Brain, we are off and racing, with a style of punk rock that has as much in common with groove laden bands like Prong and Killing Joke as it does with fast paced traditional hardcore punk such as Minor Threat or Black Flag.

Zombies continues in the same vein, with lyrical content that takes a look at modern society, while Eye of the Night features super fat bass lines and a chant along chorus that will have crowds pumping fists in triumph.

Insufficient Funds discusses the divide between rich and poor in a track that never gives up an inch.  Step By Step is a hardcore anthem that will empower the listener to never quit, and Hear Me Scream is fast and furious.  Vocally spat rather than sang, this song is pure venom.

Propaganda Leaks is the first single from Exchange My Brain, and it’s easy to see why.  It’s a statement on the current political climate, but it’s also catchy as fuck.  Therapeutic is like a band exercising demons.  Chunky riffs and more fat bass lines make for another catchy song, even if it’s supposed to be anything up.

Closing out the 18 minute album (yep, 9 songs in 18 minutes) is Feed Me.  There’s something about this track that makes it feel like it’s the soundtrack to a wasteland.  Dark and bleak, but cool as hell.

It’s a short but sweet album, but in the brief time that it’s here it gets its point across.  This is Australian hardcore punk at its best.

7/10

Review by Shayne McGowan

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