Many years ago, I made a three-hour road-trip down to Margate to catch Italian post-hardcore mob Settlefish play a tiny bar on a Friday night. Passionate, intense and with a slightly theatrical flair they were an incendiary live act, full of rage and off-kilter, angular At The Drive-In style anthems.
Fast-forward to 2015, and fellow Italian mob Lags are every bit as exciting as their Bologna-based forefathers and the legendary El Paso, Texas post-hardcore titans with whom they share so much common ground. And all of this is on display throughout the excellent ‘Pilot’.
Featuring 11 tracks of punchy jarring, cataclysmic alt-rock, ‘Pilot’ is a call-back to a time when post-hardcore was intelligent and innovative, with swathes of melody and hooks buried
deep beneath the bluster.
Songs such as ‘War Was Over’ and ‘Fear, Control, Mothers’ bristle with brooding attitude and menace, frequently teetering on the edge of collapsing into chaos. It’s thrilling stuff, filled with meaty riffs, rolling, relentless drums and Antonio Canestri’s excellent rat-a-tat vocals.
But they’re not afraid to vary it up either. ‘The Flight of the Flies’ is a more raucous punk blast filled with killer gang vocals and a mischievous structure, while ‘The Stream’ is a straight up anthem.
Of course, there often feels like a snootiness from mainstream British audiences towards anything continental – like bands have to work twice as hard to prove their worth – while mediocre bands from the States get lauded. Don’t let any such prejudices prevent you from enjoying one of the finest post-hardcore records of the year.
‘Pilot’ by Lags is out now on Lose La Track Records.
Words by Rob Mair (@BobNightMair)