by Mykhailo Vil’yamson
When a band releases their debut album in March of 2020, it’s got to have felt like a shoulder thrown right into the asphalt. However, the members of Death Cassette are back on their feet with the follow-up EP Get Rid of It, and it’s hard-hitting. All four members are the same since their formation back in 2018, led by frontperson Amanda Sousa, Lindsey Hawkes on guitar, Chuck Barchuk on bass, and Brock Macpherson on drums. As for the audio master of this project, it’s none other than John Paul Peters from Private Ear Recording (who – name drop — has recorded and produced for other bands such as Cancer Bats, Propagandhi, and Yes We Mystic).
As recently shared in episode #836 of the podcast Witchpolice Radio, Sousa declared: “I feel like it’s the first time I actually sound like myself.” Comparing Get Rid of It to their eight-track Grim, this is definitely apparent, as vocals this time around sound markedly less like Courtney Love, and more like … Mandy. The EP clocks in at exactly 18 minutes and 18 seconds, providing listeners with a predominantly upbeat foray into alt-punk rock and roll. Anchored by drums and bass, the songs dually feature Sousa’s growling vocals, as well as a confident and more playful Hawkes on electric. Thematically, much of the content — as alluded to via the album art by Hannah Blu — seems to be centred around holding people to account for oppression, hypocrisy, greed, misuse of power, etc.
Song-wise, “Solstice” has to be the one that most demonstrates the dynamic range of the band, with its sullen introspection building in intensity to the point of ultimate detonation. It’s also the longest track on the EP and the one that most syncs with the term “grunge.” The other five songs are significantly shorter, punchier, and more punk-rock-forward (including the final track, “Leech,” that’s reminiscent of older Single Mothers material…especially with the sarcastic but sincere phrase, “Not sure if you miss me or hate me”). All in all, the extended play–put out by High End Denim Records in Red Deer–delivers what it promises: it’s sharp, poignant, deep, and moody. And perhaps unsurprisingly, it’s also available on cassette.