The Means – VIL/VIOL

The Means

The Means is an Ohio-based quartet who is here to fucking rock. These misfits tear through 11 unrelenting tracks in a mere 28 minutes, each one as aggressive as the next. Not one second passes where you don’t feel like you are being hit repeatedly with an aluminum bat. Filled with snot rockets and fistfuls of punk attitude, these are the type of guys you don’t want to be caught alone with in an alley, or so the music could imply.
It’s refreshing to hear an album that won’t even offer you a second to breathe, an album that maintains fireball intensity without opting to calm things down for variety. Sure, “All They Hide” is a somewhat asinine attempt at a dithyramb, but it’s placed at the end of the album, leaving the previous 10 songs to rock the letters off your Abercrombie sweater (which ultimately makes the sweater pointless, doesn’t it?). Even their song titled “Charlize Theron” hits harder than my drunken dad on a Sunday night (kidding!).
Without the lyric sheet, there’s no way in heaven or hell I could decipher the raspy bellowing. But the band’s strength is not derived from the lyrics, but rather the abrasive instrumentation and biting rhythms. Comparisons can be drawn to Nirvana, namely “Tourette’s” (the song off In Utero that featured Cobain at his most violently destructive). Even the lyrics are reminiscent of the late 90s rock group: “I’ll be your boy / come and get it / you’ve got a cancer / it’s in your tit / comin’ home an’ I’m a cut him right out of it.”
Okay okay, the idea of “being rocked” has been somewhat homogenized over the past few years, since even a restaurant or purple socks can “rock” nowadays. But I can honestly claim that The Means rocked any trace of purple socks clear off my feet. The band made me realize that I was overdue for a good kick in the arse, when just about everything else I’ve listened to this year has related to the words “transcendent” or “experimental.” The Means definitely have its act together, and if you don’t get yours together (by ordering through Minneapolis’ Double Plus Good), you might get kicked in the arse, too.